World Press Freedom Day: 5 Documentaries You Should Watch to Stay Informed

May 3, 2023

Worldwide, journalists face harassment, violence or even death for simply doing their jobs. According to RSF’s Press Freedom index, media workers in 28 countries work under dangerous conditions  where autocratic regimes are increasingly cracking down on media outlets. 

With censorship and distrust towards the press on the rise, there has never been a more important time to protect journalists and maintain the free flow of information. Here are five must-watch films about the journalists risking everything to inform us about what is happening in our world.

Storm Lake - United States

In the United States, The Trump administration’s attack on press credibility has convinced millions of Americans to distrust mainstream media, undermine the work of journalists and even incite violence against them. The local news crisis spurred on by the pandemic is also causing local newspapers to shut down at an alarming rate across the country.

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Art Cullen and his family fight to unite and inform their rural Iowan farming community through their biweekly newspaper, The Storm Lake Times - even as the paper hangs on by a thread. Watch it here.

While We Watched - India

Since taking office in 2014, Narendra Modi’s government has shut down dozens of daily newspapers in India and taken control of television stations speaking out against the Indian Nationalist Movement. Independent news reporting is increasingly under threat by extremists leveraging alternative platforms to spread misinformation.

Vinay Shukla’s brand new film follows prime time Indian TV journalist Ravish Kumar, renowned for his unflinching takedowns of the ruling establishment. As press freedom disintegrates in the country, Kumar finds himself at the receiving end of harassment, threats and the looming shut down of his beloved NDTV. Watch it here.

We Hold the Line - The Philippines

In the Philippines, dictator Rodrigo Duterte has openly targeted journalists speaking out against his ‘War on Drugs’, which has resulted in the killing of 12,000 Filipinos. 

We Hold the Line chronicles the work of Nobel prize winner Maria Ressa and her team at Rappler to fight for democracy and press freedom against Duterte’s brutality. Watch it here.  

Taliban Land - Afghanistan

Afghanistan has lost tens of thousands of its journalists forced to flee since the fall of Kabul, 84% of whom are women. Many others have been arrested and intimidated.

Nagieb Khaja’s Taliban Land gives incredible access to the Taliban’s Afghanistan. Hoping for a positive change, war reporter Nagieb Khaja attempts to document the transition of power in his country of birth, after decades of war and instability. Watch it here.

F@ck This Job - Russia

In Russia, a fake news law implimented on March 4th, 2022 threatens prison time for anyone who publishes what the Russian government considers to be false information about the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Those who are found guilty of disseminating such information could face up to 15 years in prison.

In 2008, Natasha, a newly rich woman, decides to open an independent TV station in Russia and builds an open-minded team of outcasts. By 2020, Natasha has lost everything to Russia's war between Propaganda and Truth. Watch it here.

Freedom of the press is not something to be taken for granted. We are proud to partner with filmmakers, journalists, and organisations that work to maintain it every day.

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