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Truth Hunters Versus Media Antagonists

The rapid rise of social media sites and their ease of public accessibility globally have had a profound impact on practitioners of reactive and retaliatory communication methods and strategies.

The Age of Journalistic Jousting

The increasing speed and reach of Internet information dissemination has greatly exacerbated the conflicts between the opposing forces of freedom of speech versus censorship, honest reporting versus purveyors of fake news, culpability versus denial, and exposures by investigative journalism versus the avoidance of accountability by ‘spin-doctor cover-ups’.

1. Reporters Without Borders Germany, Fonts For Freedom

Advertising Agency: Serviceplan, Hamburg, Germany

‘Reporters Without Borders’ are of the firm conviction that press freedom is the crucial bedrock of a democratic, free and just society.

Their dedicated mission is to support journalists globally who fight to uphold these ideals but so often become victims of the ongoing censorship crackdown by oppressive regimes on media organisations that results in journalists being routinely arrested and publications shut down.

In response Reporters Without Borders Germany and Serviceplan Hamburg, with the collaboration of Digital Agency Plan.Net Munich, and Media Agency Mediaplus, reconstructed the house fonts of 9 newspapers banned by governments in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Tanzania, Hungary and Russia.

The fonts were then provided to major German newspapers to use in their publications for a united fight back campaign to illustrate that the truth cannot be suppressed through censorship.

2. The New York Times, Fearlessness

Advertising Agency: Droga5, New York, USA

Directed by Daniel Lindsay , ‘Fearlessness’ is the story of Pulitzer-nominated reporter Rukmini Callimachi’s numerous trips to Iraque that led to her unearthing more than 15,000 documents that revealed in detail how grossly brutal the Islamic States’ long bureaucratic rule was.

In spite of great risks to herself on numerous occasions, Rukmini Callimachi traveled to more than 150 locations in her fearless determination to obtain the information she was seeking.

3. The London Times & Sunday Times, Politics Tamed

Advertising Agency: News UK Pulse Creative, London

Directed by William Bartlett with special effects by Framestore Studios London, UK, the commercial is an entertaining parody of writer James Orwell’s classic dystopian masterpiece titled ‘Animal Farm’.

The long running debate in The House of Commons, known as ‘Brexit’, about how and when Britain would leave the European Economic Community (EEC) has been chaotic.

The endless shifting of political alliances and the volatility of withdrawal condition proposals, have been hugely perplexing for many British citizens, companies, international trade and financial institutions and at times, even members of the European Parliament.

‘Politics Tamed’ is a topical campaign of reassurance by The Times & Sunday Times that they remain committed in these confusing times to keeping readers objectively informed by unfolding events.

4. The Guardian Open Journalism, The Three Little Pigs

Advertising Agency: BBH (Bartle Bogle Hegarty London)

Directed by Ringan Ledwidge, this Cannes Gold Lion commercial is superbly crafted and is metaphoric storytelling at its best and most powerful.

Besides motivating a huge online discussion about civic rights and social responsibility, the commercial also served as a catalyst for many academic studies. Six years later many advertising professionals still regard the Guardian’s ‘Three Little Pigs’ as the most influential and impactful commercial of the decade.

5. Amnesty International, Pens

Advertising Agency: TBWA, Paris

Directed by Onur Senturk, this superbly crafted commercial consists of powerful motion capture 3D animation, monotone images composed entirely of pens.

Amnesty’s objective was to highlight the potential power of public participation with the simple act of adding one’s signature in support of defending human rights, freedom of expression and social movements for democratic justice.

The stirring soundtrack song is ‘Iron Sky’ by Paolo Nutini.

6. Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Free The Speech

Advertising Agency: King, Stockholm, Sweden

This commercial celebrated the 250th Anniversary of Free Speech being written into Sweden’s law.

Directed by Johan Soderberg and starring Emma Watson, Leo di Caprio and Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, the commercial is an impactful rallying call to civil society to repel the relentless onslaught against free speech and the many silencing atrocities performed on journalists and whistleblowers that are so often politically sanctioned.

7. Helsingin Sanomat Daily Newspaper, Land of Free Press

Advertising Agency: TBWA, Helsinki, Finland

Finland consistently tops the World Press Freedom Index followed by the other Nordic Countries and the non-Nordic, Netherlands.

When Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin met for a summit in Helsinki, Finland, in July 2018, local newspaper Helsingin Sanomat was ready and waiting with a series of 300 posters along the route the world leaders would have to travel from the airport.

The campaign messages in English and Russian, were in solidarity of world press freedom for as Kaius Niemi, editor in chief of the newspaper was quoted as saying; “The media shouldn’t be the lap dog of any president or regime”.

The campaign received global coverage on all major news channels and sparked countless analytical discussions that evoked wide consensual support for the protection of investigative journalism and a free press.