Ann Törnkvist: I am not trying to silence parachute journalists

I understand some of my colleagues and external critics who point out that my op-ed about the limits of parachute journalism can be interpreted as an attack on press freedom. And therefore by extension, ironically enough, an attack on the very democracy that I so want to protect. That one can’t be just a little bit in support of press freedom — either you’re in, or you’re in. But I can be all in and at the same time criticise my industry and craft.
   Ann Törnkvist replies to some of the comments her op-ed on parachute journalism generated.

Some argue that I’m giving nourishment to dangerous reasoning. ”He/she doesn’t get it” is, after all, a favourite among those who want to silence others. Denied visas, deportation, arrests, attacks… murder. These are tough times for press freedom. Threats, harassment, insults. The list is long. But that does not mean that we journalists should stop being self-critical. On the contrary, the press corps must support free debate even about our own trade’s challenges.

I am not trying to silence parachute journalists; I simply prefer long-term beat reporting that builds trust, and therefore can include more people’s voices in the public debate. And it is for the sake of debate that I welcome my critics. It would have been a much bigger problem democratically if I had, as an anonymous person suggested via email, kept my ”retarded female mouth shut”.


This is an op-ed, a debate piece. The content and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own.