A journalist in India once told me that, ‘Here in my country, we can name, but we cannot shame.’ If that were really true, why did he bother going to work in the morning? It sounded like the definition of journalism not achieving its purpose. People who hold power will be tempted to abuse it, and generally what prevents them from doing so is the fear of exposure and disgrace. Embedded in the purpose of journalism is its craft: strong stories, well-told, that make people pay attention. Otherwise, it’s just another tree falling at the printing plant.
Carroll Bogert is deputy executive director for external relations at Human Rights Watch.