Knight Center director Eric Freedman is the lead author of a package of stories on the possibility of climate migrants moving to the Great Lakes region to escape forest fires of Western states, flooding along the saltwater coasts and ever-rising temperatures causing drought in different corners of the continent.
His main story for Crain’s Detroit Business, Crain’s Chicago Business and Crain’s Cleveland Business tackles the question of who may make the move and how well-prepared – or ill-prepared – Great Lakes communities are to accommodate them.
His sidebar looks at how changing environmental, social and economic climates have long fueled other migrations to the region, including settlement by European immigrants and their descendants in the 1800s and the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to the factories of Detroit, Youngstown, Akron, Chicago, Gary and Cleveland in the first half of the 20th century.
In a column for NBC News, Knight Center director Eric Freedman discusses how the recent murder of British journalist Dom Phillips in the Brazilian Amazon is a grim reminder of the perils that reporters face when covering controversial environmental issues and events.
Freedman, who researches challenges and obstacles to environmental coverage, puts the murder of Phillips and the Indigenous rights activist who accompanied them into the context of how powerful and greedy interests use violence, threats, economic clout, unfair laws, abuse of authority and political ruthlessness to prevent independent reporting on topics such as illegal mining and logging, poaching and pollution.
Freedman’s column also explains how such attacks on environmental journalists occur around the world, including in the U.S. and Canada, and how those responsible usually face no punishment.
By Eric Freedman
Professor Eric Freedman
These early days of 2022 are an opportune time to look back and assess last year’s press freedom environment in the United States and abroad.
It’s a troubling picture for journalists and news organizations pursuing their obligation to provide fair, balanced and accurate coverage of public affairs, to hold institutions of government and power accountable. to give voice to the voiceless and to act ethically amid a sea of misinformation and disinformation.
As the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) recently reported: “The number of journalists jailed around the world set another record in 2021. Invoking new tech and security laws, repressive regimes from Asia to Europe to Africa cracked down harshly on the independent press.”
The numbers tell a grim story: a record 293 journalists jailed because of their work – including a Michigan journalist jailed in Southeast Asia – up from 280 in 2020. At least 24 journalists killed because of their work. Another 18 dead “in circumstances too murky to determine whether they were specific targets,” according to CPJ, a U.S.-based press rights defender organization.
It’s no surprise that ultra-authoritarian regimes like those in China, Myanmar, Egypt, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Belarus appear in the top ranks – or the dark depths – of the bad guys’ roster of free speech violators. In Kazakhstan, another dictatorship, authorities detained at least eight journalists and blocked at least two news sites covering the first few days of anti-government and price hike protests in early January. Continue reading
Knight Center director Eric Freedman explores the dark world of illegal trafficking of wildlife skulls in “The Bone Collectors,” the cover story in the winter issue of Earth Island Journal.
It’s a story of greed, intrigue, science, conspiracies, mysticism, collectors, corruption and investigators.
It’s a story of a wide range of animals, many of them endangered or threatened, including helmeted hornbills, Bornean orangutans, tigers, walruses, African antelopes and rhinos.
And it’s a story that stretches from the MSU Museum and the Smithsonian to Southeast Asia to Alaska to the U.S.-Canadian border.
As for long-term implications, Freedman writes, “Experts warn that the illegal trade in skulls and other wildlife parts creates a major obstacle to the preservation of biodiversity.”