Endangered explores a year in the life of a small number of journalists working in democracies and the intimidation from the far-right.
The following words were said about journalists during a campaign rally in Brazil and it is absolutely sickening:
“These reporters are criminals. These people need to be executed.“
Think about it. When someone speaks this sort of rhetoric on the campaign trail, it is absolutely reprehensible. If you spoke this way in the US, the FBI would probably be on your trail. This is also one of many reasons why rhetoric from the far-right is fucking scary these days.
The freedom of the press is a given in any democracy or at least it should be. What journalists are facing now is distrust and all sorts of misinformation coming from the far right. In America, you can place the blame on Fox News, Donald Trump, and that sort of ilk. Trump is well-known for bashing the press and immediately going into disinformation mode when the truth comes out. FOX News repeats the lies and it results in people buying into them. Speaking of lies, coverage of the insurrection comes with less than 15 minutes to go. I’m warning viewers now especially if any of you have PTSD from January 6, 2021. While it is hard to watch, you could not make this film without discussing the insurrection or the fallout.
But just as scary is the fact that these are journalists working in democracies, not in third-world countries or war-zones. All you need to do is just watch the horrifying footage from all of the protests that took place following the unfortunate death of George Floyd. You could not attend any sort of protest in 2020 without seeing riot gear. There’s brief footage from WAVE-3 news in my hometown of Louisville, Ky. It is a serious concern when a journalist holds up the press card and subsequently gets detained by the police. Journalists have a duty to their community when it comes to reporting the news but all across the world, this duty is becoming increasingly threatened. Here in America, we have to ask: Why is a constitutional freedom being attacked?
You name it and journalists are under attack:
- Black Lives Matter protests
- Political rallies (especially right wing and far-right wing)
- Police brutality
- Covid-19 pandemic
- The lists goes on and on
Journalists are having to deal with no shortage of slander, hostility and violence coming from government. Attacks started to becoming increasingly normal when Trump was running for office. His rhetoric only enabled them and they got worse from then on out. The bulk of the film appears to cover 2020 more so than 2021 so please keep in mind that it’s back when Trump was in office. Even though I work in entertainment journalism, I’m not immune to harassment and hostile attacks. Back in 2019, I suffered no shortage of harassment and death threats as a result of writing a film review. THIS IS NOT NORMAL.
Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing also cover the Proud Boys and Trump rallies, especially January 6. A journalist asks about one of them about what evidence they have about a stolen election. There’s no point in reporters asking them about their point of view. All they do is just intentionally give disinformation in response.
Journalists in Brazil and America are not the only focus as the film also covers a journalist in Mexico. Things certainly do not look much better south of the Rio Grande. It’s very sad to know that this is the state of our world today.
If this film had covered Kentucky journalists, you would have learned the following:
- Republican politicians forbidding journalists from covering a press conference.
- Blocking journalists on Twitter and preventing them from doing a job.
Here is where things stand in journalism: the Committee to Protect Journalists is now responding to requests for help in America. Usually, they only get requests from people living abroad. Think about what it says when people are working in the US and needing help from the organization.
Endangered might not be groundbreaking but it is one of the most important films you’ll see in 2022 about the importance of a free press. Let this film serve as a reminder that democracies do better when the press is allowed to do their job.
DIRECTORS: Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing
FEATURING: Patrícia Campos Mello, Carl Juste, Sáshenka Gutiérrez, Oliver Laughland, Joel Simon
Endangered holds its world premiere during the 2022 Tribeca Festival in the Spotlight Documentary program. The film will air on HBO on June 28 at 9 PM ET/PT and be available to stream on HBO Max. Grade: 4/5
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