Celebrating World Press Freedom Day 2016

By Colin Crowell

It’s traditionally been said that media write the first draft of history. With the birth of a little blue bird in a small apartment in San Francisco just over a decade ago, it’s fair to say the strict interpretation of that idiom has changed.

Twitter is where news breaks, stories are covered in real time, and the world looks to find out what’s happening on the ground — beyond the headline.

If the media writes the first draft, Twitter gives everyone the power to record history live and in the moment.

As we celebrate World Press Freedom Day 2016, it’s important to take stock and reflect on how the media landscape has been radically transformed — not just by Twitter, but also the historically unrivalled potential of the internet.

Information sharing and content creation have grown exponentially, transmitted along nodes and complex digital networks connecting all of us in seconds. With the massive amount of content being shared across the internet — including hundreds of millions Tweets per day — news organisations are more vital than ever in separating the signal from the noise and providing needed context to both local and world events.

Our mediated world has undoubtedly changed, including the ability of smaller, historically less powerful voices to break into the local media mix and share breaking news or perspectives that can now reach global audiences. Twitter’s open platform is often a primary vehicle for such sharing. Indeed, so-called citizen journalists, mainstream news organizations, and budding investigative reporters have all found their home on Twitter.

But despite the incredible rate of change, the core foundational principles of the media remain unchanged: to provide transparency, inform us about issues of civic importance, and hold public officials accountable.

These are values we share; they’re part of the lifeblood of our platform.

Ten years ago in San Francisco, in the weeks after @Jack sent his first Tweet, the team began to realize the full power and potential of the platform they had created. And now with Periscope, we’re observing how news organisations and aspiring, dogged reporters can cover news “live” and seek and share the truth.

To journalists on every corner of the world, to those that are free to express, and especially those who have their abilities to do what they love curtailed, know that we stand with you today.

We want you to be able to speak fearlessly on our platform. In return, we continue to defend and respect your voice.