The power of silence in a screaming world

East is renovating. In the world of journalism, where everything isat a standstill due to economic stagnation, East has decided to keep moving forward. To look ahead, to innovate and keep on providing a detailed account of issues others fail to address.

In recent years, in the throes of the crisis that’s closing down newspapers and forcing youngsters to forget journalism as a career, there seems to be onlyone way forward: rationalisation, which usually means downsizing.  We want to do something different. Rationalisation perhaps, but from a graphic and not editorial point of view. This has meant making our site more accessible and user-friendly, but with the same amount of new and original content, if not more.

A crucial questions that underlies the challenge East is facing reads: “does Italy have room for geopolitical assessments?” An issue that can’t be taken for granted, especially after reading all the twaddle written over the kidnapping of Vanessa Marzullo and Greta Ramelli. In Italy people comment without knowing the facts, pass judgement without evidence, state their case by shouting the loudest. Can one live and work in a country where disinformation is almost more viral than traditional media? No. Can one live and work in a country where one of the primary sources of information for readers is Facebook. Sure, because it’s not the medium that matters, it’s the credibility of the source that makes the difference. We want to go against the flow, trying to stay below the radar as we always have. We don’t shout, don’t make waves because we’re interested in facts and reasons, we analyse processes and are always wondering if there may be a third side to any coin. Admittedly not an easy task.

A few days agoon, Massimiliano Calì analysed the state of information and reporting in Italy, basing his assessment on the World Press Freedom Index  issued annually by the Reporters Without Borders Association. A correct and independent way of trying to understand the level of ignorance that underlies public opinion. Calì brought to light a disastrous scenario: “Italy, Poland and South Korea have the lowest press freedom indices and among the highest level of ignorance within the sample considered. Exactly the opposite of Sweden, Germany and Japan”. But that’s not all.Calì adds,  “Italy has the lowest level of Internet access among the sample, while Sweden, ranked last in the “ignorance” index, has the highest.” His conclusions, that are as sarcastic as they are foreboding for the future, reiterate that “When journalism is not fully independent of political and economic powers and the legislation that is supposed to oversee the media is not transparent, the press, television news and the new media do not adequately inform citizens even on social and political issues that are central to their society. And seeing as a large part of citizens obtain their information mainly from (traditional) media, they end up by being badly informed. Sound familiar?”.

Unfortunately it sounds all too familiar. Too many issues are discussed condescendingly. The economy, foremostly, where populism and shouting always wins out. The same is true of finance. Foreign affairs, which for the most part now are discussed sitting comfortably in one’s chair, hundreds of miles from the firing line. And finally geopolitics, that hybrid concoction that mixes economics, finance, society and international affairs and at least in Italy, is very tough to describe. How can one hope to explain the effect of economic sanctions on Russia without discussing diplomatic relations between countries? How can one write about the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdonewsdesk without considering the sources of funding received by IS or al-Qaeda? It can’t be done. That’s what East is for. That’s why East is upgrading: so it can keep describing the world without preconceptions, ideological slants or banners. Ours is a reasoned and rational choice. While everyone’s shouting, we keep quiet and let the facts speak for themselves. A decision we’re certain will win out in the end.

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