Published Opinions

Submitted from Students Worldwide

November 11, 2018

IMAGE BY YASIN AKGUL VIA THE TELEGRAPH  

Today’s current state of affairs are encompassed by a myriad of tête-à-tête between our exemplary global political leaders; think the glorious Donald Trump and the suave Mohammad Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. If you open a news channel or read an article, without a doubt you’ll read something about slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi and how it serves as a threat to free speech. The story of Jamal Khashoggi embodies the issues with the Arab world’s restrictions on free speech. There is a criticism to be implied on regimes in the Middle East as they lock down academics, journalists, and anyone who does not share propaganda-ridden sentiments of said regime. Brutal dismemberment of journalists globally have been occurring for decades, on lower-scale efforts, and can extend to a wide range of intellectual thinkers who are simply doing their jobs.

The crackdown on journalists is by no means a new issue, but as the years progress, there has been an incr...

March 25, 2018

SETH HARRISON VIA THE JOURNAL NEWS

Palestinian human rights are often the subject of much contention, especially when pitting it against a background of violations complicit with Israel. Initially, I was nervous about mentioning Israel in this, or venting my frustrations about how Palestinian human rights are often regarded as “controversial” or “debatable”. But I need to ask: when did human rights become so politicized? The extent of polarity with human rights is quite alarming and unquestionably detrimental to any future progress for co-existence with Palestinians and Israelis.

As an individual growing up in Canada and learning about the atrocities First Nations tribes were subject to in Canada, I resonated with them in a way that I had never understood until speaking to the Musqueam people of Vancouver about the losses and grievances they had endured. I, as a settler, living and growing up in this privileged land, understood the suffering they had experienced, in which the audacity fo...

September 21, 2017

GETTY IMAGES VIA KPCC

In previous weeks Bridge the Divide has placed a specific focus on the role politics plays in academia. Several of you have shared your opinions in the discussion and in the live ambassador roundtable held last week. To close out our exploration into the topic, Kymberley Chu explores different reasons why there is an increasing political polarization in academia and what some are doing to combat it. 

Concerns about the political polarization within academia have become inescapable in recent years. Intellectual diversity in higher education promotes a variety of ideological viewpoints that may solidify our critical thinking skills and open ourselves to others’ rationals. However, the majority of liberal professors in most educational institutes may exert an echo chamber that prohibits this growth. According to Nicholas Kristof, most universities lack tolerance towards ideological and religious beliefs. In fact, the Pew Research Centre reports that 58% of Republicans...

August 16, 2017

As impossible as it may seem, the issue of the media's role in politics continues to grow more contentious with each new issue that arises. Over the past few weeks, our community has engaged in thoughtful conversation over whether or not this powerful presence is a benefit to society through its ability to inform the public and keep politicians accountable, or counterproductive to the political climate through spreading bias and misinformation, intentionally or unintentionally. Here's a few highlights from what people had to say.

From the Op-eds

The media’s hard approach on the government is vital and should be supported. Important social advocacy campaigns would have had no impact if the media had not played its part. From anti-tobacco campaigns to issues like climate change and global warming, all have been put up by today’s media, to make the common man aware of his world. With the technological advancements, the effects of media have increased to a whole new level. With apps, an...

Question: Does the Media have a Positive Impact on Society?

The Impact of Media on Today's Modern World Cannot be Undermined: Written by Hussein Usmanrch, Pakistan

In the recent years media has faced extreme criticism and has been a subject of a huge debate. With the Trump government’s clear views against the media due to its hard approach on his policies and ideas as one example, it is clear that  many political leaders don’t go well with such mainstream criticism. Analyzing today’s societies reveals that the influence of media has become greater than ever. From social media platforms, whose authenticity can be questionable to mainstream media channels and programs that are run by seasoned journalists and are backed by intensive research, we can easily comprehend that a broad spectrum exists when it comes to identifying its role as either positive or negative.  

Let’s probe in a bit deeper on why today's free media is the biggest accountability agent, that creates a p...

ADAM FAGEN VIA UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”

― Benjamin Franklin.

Free speech is understood as one of the basic pillars of democracy, and a right that is fundamental to any free society. A state cannot claim to be truly equal, just, or free, without the opportunity to express thought without fear of government repression. In principle, freedom of speech is a notion that should be have an intrinsic value. Nevertheless, it has become a highly debated topic in recent years. The reality is that freedom of speech is fundamental, yet also an unavoidable double-edged sword. There remains no coherent global (or even regional) understanding on this rights application. Even Europe and the United States have vastly different conceptions of free speech, and whether there should be limitations to it.

The debate often arises from the fact that the same protections that guarantee free speech necessarily allow ha...

Freedom of the press has been a cornerstone in American democracy since the nation’s founding. Often called the fourth estate, a free press is meant to expose the truth without fearing the government’s retribution. However, the Trump administration currently threatens to undermine this constitutional freedom, as President Trump repeatedly and publicly his hatred for the mainstream media.

In a solo press conference held February 15th, 2017, President Trump referred to coverage of White House leaks as fake, blasting CNN for having “so much anger and hatred.” However, Trump acknowledged that the leaks were real and provided no evidence of CNN reporting unfairly. Three days later, he released a tweet that equated the mainstream media to fake news: "Don't believe the mainstream (fake news) media. The White House is running VERY WELL."

Trump’s statements are dangerous because they create public confusion, enabling more misinformation to seep into the public conscience. Though fair critiques ca...

GETTY IMAGES VIA CNBC

“Did you hear? Suzie told Joe that… and then Linda and Carrie… Oh my gosh, I can’t believe he did that!” Juicy gossip, exaggerated stories, slanderous lies. You would think it does not extend beyond the tanbark of the playground, but false information has made its way into the trusted institutions of the U.S. President Donald Trump claims to oppose fake news in the media, as shown through his prominent status as a notorious tweeter: “FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn’t tell the truth. A great danger to our country. The failing @nytimes has become a joke. Likewise @CNN. Sad!” His petulant complaints attempt to redirect the spotlight away from the White House’s blunders and falsified facts.

Despite being a main source of the fake news, the White House has taken measures to work towards what they believe is resolving the issue of “Fake News” in the media. Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, raised many eyebrows when he chose to ban certain journalist organizations...

March 12, 2017

IMAGE VIA FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATIONAL FREEDOM

As a high school student attending a conservative Catholic all-girls school in the Bay Area, I’ve often been the minority- both in ethnicity and political values. My attempts to promote racial solidarity within the community by encouraging action were widely ignored- sometimes even lambasted as “a liberal agenda.” There has been such a clear divide within my school concerning recent issues that it’s been incredibly difficult to form a coherent goal of increasing acceptance, especially when each side seems to be battling the other in terms of perspective. Being an anchor for the “Current News” segment of my school’s weekly broadcast, I understood this, as much as I understood that it wasn’t so much about justifying my own stance as it was about featuring the stances of others. What I didn’t realize was that there would be some who didn’t share that view.

It was shortly after the airing of the final “Current News” segment of the school’s weekly...

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