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6 movies about journalism that capture the importance of press freedom in our society

In a perfect world, our society has equal access to information curated only by independent, tenacious, reliable, and responsible journalists, which help us make decisions and move forward as a society. In a perfect world, these unbiased information equip us with what we need to truly understand and empathize with those who suffer, to hold those in power accountable, and to develop a sense of curiosity to society’s ills. However, we are not in a perfect world, and we’re now seeing that the job of a journalist is now being threatened by fake news, censorship, intimidation, and violence for simply doing their job.

via pexel

These days, people are so quick to label something biased (or “bias media”–sabi nila yan) for things they see on their social media feeds that they simply do not agree with. But journalists do what they need to do, and that is to bring truth to the surface, so everyone understands every situation we are presented with. And it’s definitely not an easy job. Heck, it’s a thankless job–in the Philippines, apart from being trolled to high heavens, being a journalist can sometimes get you killed, putting us among the countries with journalism as a grave profession. The Media Freedom Coalition has already stated recently, in the wake of broadcaster Percy Lapid’s killing, that “journalist killings strike at the very core of media freedom and can create a chilling effect that curtails the ability of journalists to report news freely & safely.” But unfortunately, there’s so much work to be done in making the general masses understand how important journalism and press freedom are in our lives.

To  help us understand exactly the gravity that this profession holds, here are 6 movies to watch based on real-life events that show us how journalism can help pave the way for society to right its wrongs.

She said (2022)

journalism movies press freedom

Following the direction of Maria Schrader and based on the 2019 book written by New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, “She Said” unravels one of the biggest scandals of sexual misconduct by one of Hollywood’s most established producers, Harvey Weinstein.

Starring two-time Academy Award nominee Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan who played the Time’s investigative reporters, revealed in this compelling film how they were able to uncover and give voice to the dozens of assaulted victims by Weinstein, and sparked a revolution that used to be unspeakable events inside agencies and studios by those aspiring to climb the steep and exclusive hills of Hollywood.

“The film spoke to me as being just full of women being heroic, from the survivors, the witnesses, to everyone at the Times who sort of made this happen,” Mulligan told Reuters during the movie premiere at the London Film Festival red carpet last October 14. 

The Post (2017)

journalism movies press freedom

The grey areas that the government continues to sweep under the rug, are those that taint and endanger innocent people in our society. Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” is an exhilarating film on journalism that reimagined the week before The Washington Post publicized the Pentagon Papers, the United States government classified report that documented their involvement in Southeast Asia from World War II till 1968.  

Spotlight (2015)

journalism movies press freedom

Uncovering the secrecy and scandal of the Catholic Church that fueled a global discovery, Spotlight is the close-knit investigative team of the Boston Globe’s reporters Micheal Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Matt Carol (Brian d’Arcy James), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), and their editor Walter “Robby” Robinson (Micheal Keaton), showed the riveting process that these journalists went through to put the scattered and hidden pieces together of the sexual abuses done by priests and the system that never answered them to any consequences.   

Bombshell (2019)

journalism movies press freedom

Cutting deep into what a newsroom that’s obsessed with skyrocketing ratings, demanding deadlines, and a CEO who perpetuated silence and sexual harassment, “Bombshell” demostrates the sexism and abuse that woman had to endure in the power-hungry and male-dominated workplace at Fox News

The star-studded film which features the likes of Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie, captures even the most intricately disturbing misogynist nature of Fox New’s CEO Roger Ailes requesting female employees to “twirl” and peek through their garments for his “visual medium”.     

All the President’s Men (1976)

Definitely one of the classics. “All the President’s Men” starring the likes of Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, and Jack Warden, uncovers the ever-controversial details of United States’ former president Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal through the lens of The Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Other than the praised creative direction of the film, director Alan J. Pakula’s vision is said to be one of the most “factually accurate” journalism films that tackled history’s frowned-upon phenomena. 


A Thousand Cuts (2020)

journalism press freedom

This documentary film, directed, written and produced by Filipino-American filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz and was screened at Sundance Film Festival, follows the conflicts between the press and the Philippine government under then-president Rodrigo Duterte. “A Thousand Cuts” largely follows Maria Ressa, founder of Philippine online news website Rappler, giving viewers an inside look at how Ressa deals with threats and harassment from the government as well as on the internet. This hits close to home as it shows us how disinformation, and fueling distrust on the media, affect every Filipino. /VT



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If you liked the movie, you’ll love the book: 10 films based on great reads


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