#ThankAJournalist: How Twitter commemorates World Press Freedom Day

May 7, 2020 - 8:03 PM
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Media workers
Undated photo of reporters and cameramen on a press briefing in Malacañang Palace. (Photo from Philippine News Agency)

Microblogging platform Twitter recently commemorated the World Press Freedom Day by initiating the #ThankAJournalist movement which aims to recognize the efforts of the press working in the frontlines of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The platform, which is widely used by newsrooms and journalists all over the world to break stories, partnered with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to initiate the movement.

A special emoji is activated on Twitter once the hashtags “#ThankAJournalist,” “#WorldPressFreedomDay,” “#PressFreedom” and “#WPFD2020” are used by anyone who posts on the platform up to May 8.

Other hashtags appreciating journalists and the freedom of the press are available in 25 languages, including Filipino.

The special emoji is also activated when Philippine users tweet “#SalamatSaPagsusulat,” “#MalayangPamamahayag” and “#ArawngMalayangPamamahayag.”

Respect press freedom

World Press Freedom Day is celebrated annually on May 3 to raise awareness on the importance of freedom of the press.

The United Nations, which declared the commemoration, said that the day “acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom.”

“It is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics,” the intergovernmental organization said on its website.

The World Press Freedom Day is also an opportunity to defend the media from attacks on their independence and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty, among others.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on Sunday commemorated the event by calling on the country’s press to unite in resistance to what it tagged as “efforts to exploit the emergency to clamp down on our fundamental rights and liberties.”

It lamented the government’s continuous red-tagging of its members and the recent string of arrests of media workers in Iloilo City.

NUJP also urged Filipino journalists to reject attempts to “control or impede the free flow of information to people,” as well as “continue to serve the people” through their work.

A pro-journalist platform 

Twitter considers journalists and newsrooms as “part of the fabric” that makes it “great,” being a platform that features real-time conversations and happenings.

Journalists regularly use the platform to break their stories before it eventually gets picked up by their respective newsrooms.

It serves as a “window into what’s happening into the world” since reporters on the ground utilize it to update the public on developing stories as they happen at the moment.

To further maximize the platform’s potential, journalists can utilize its tools to capture different types of content and engage their audience.

For one, they could create Twitter threads that aim to collate tweets with the same topic or string together updates with too much text for just one tweet.

Journalists can also enhance their online reportage by adding media on their posts including photos and videos, as well as links and gifs.

They could also do “live broadcasts” directly by selecting the camera icon on the “compose tweet” and then toggle from “capture” to “live.”

In the event that they are abused, harassed or threatened by any account, particularly trolls, journalists can select the option to block, report, ignore or mute an online user.