COLLEGE PARK (4/25/18) — A University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism professor and alumna discussed freedom of the press around the world on Wednesday during a panel hosted by The Washington Post and Reporters Without Borders.

Dana Priest, the college’s John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism and a Pulitzer Prize winner for The Washington Post, moderated the discussion, which focused on the danger reporters and the public face in countries where press freedom is restricted.

Alumna Margaret Talev (’94), senior White House correspondent for Bloomberg and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, was a panelist. She was joined by Washington Post writer Jason Rezaian, who was jailed by Iranian authorities; Alisa Sopova, a freelance journalist in Ukraine; and J. Jesús Esquivel, Washington correspondent for Proceso Magazine of Mexico.

Talev acknowledged the relative safety of being a journalist in the United States, but said tension had increased enough in recent years that the White House Correspondents’ Association created a committee on reporter safety to act as a resource for member journalists who feel threatened.

“It was sort of unthinkable that we would have an American reporter here representing American reporters,” in a discussion about reporter safety, Priest said during the discussion.

Talev said it’s important for journalists to emphasize that they “are a segment of the public whose job it is to share news and information.” It’s a short way from government censorship of journalists to censorship of other citizens, she said.

“There’s a disconnect and a feeling that the press is like a business entity,” Talev said. “When we’re talking about the First Amendment or press protections and why it’s important, it really is to protect everyone.”

The full discussion was streamed live online by The Washington Post. Archived excerpts are on The Post’s website and @postlive Twitter account.

For more information, contact:
Alexander A. Pyles
aapyles@umd.edu
301-405-1321