The Price of Truth

A free press is still one of the best protections of freedom in any society.
Despite often legitimate complaints by American Christians about anti-Christian bias in the secular media, the fact remains that even when it is blankly uncomprehending of issues of faith, a free press is still one of the best protections of freedom in any society. When freedom of the press is threatened anywhere, along with freedom of conscience, people's lives are at risk.

Nowhere can you grasp this more vividly than in Africa, a continent whose peoples have in recent decades been more brutalized by dictatorship, civil war, corruption and disease than anywhere else on earth.

In mid-November in Nairobi, Kenya, we heard heartrending, firsthand stories of this from 40 journalists, all of them Christian, gathered from 11 African nations. The occasion was the African Regional Conference of Gegrapha, the global fellowship of Christians in journalism founded in Washington, D.C., in 1998. Some of those journalists present had been forced to flee their homes and their countries because their reporting antagonized their governments or, as in northern Nigeria, an aggressive and expansionist branch of Islam.

Clayton Peel, former deputy editor of The Chronicle in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, was fired overnight from the pro-government paper after front-paging the story of a mayoral candidate cleared in court of malicious and politically motivated corruption charges. Until he left Zimbabwe he did not know if he would be jailed, or worse.

"There does come a point," Peel said, "when your Christian conscience provokes you, and in being provoked, you provoke others."

In Nigeria, which returned to democracy two years ago, the most frightening challenge to Christians and journalists is that of efforts by Muslim Nigerians in the country's north to suppress both Christianity and press freedom by imposing the sharia, Islamic religious law. Emmanuel Hasan (not his real name), editor of a northern regional newspaper, had to flee for his life after bravely reporting anti-Christian violence by militant Nigerian Muslims in his state.

After arriving in Lagos, Hasan did something radical--he founded a Christian newspaper, The Envoy. He had three goals: to report instances of Christian persecution, to look at news from a Christian perspective and to be frank in reporting when the church itself slipped up.

But Hasan was shocked by unexpected opposition. "We didn't expect the difficulties to come from the church," he says.

Hasan says many churches became hostile when his paper pointed out wrong-doing or corruption among them. Despite this, Hasan says, the paper became popular with ordinary people because, in his words, "We stood for the truth."

Truth also disturbs authoritarian governments because it challenges the legitimacy of their power. A journalist familiar with Egypt said he had been surprised by how much fear there was in the Egyptian media about reporting basic true facts.

"We need to challenge ourselves to tell the truth," he said, but he added, "We need to understand that it is a real danger to tell the truth."

All the African reporters were aware of the difficulties of press censorship in many of their countries. Some of them also worried about the insidious threat of self-censorship--holding back truth-telling for fear of government violence or some other backlash.

A reporter for an African government news agency repented in public for having often to "slant" the stories she writes. If a government minister has addressed 25 people at a political meeting, she said, almost in tears, she has to write that there was a "mammoth rally" for the government.

Yet the overall mood of the conference was filled with hope. "For all of us in Africa, we can influence our societies if we see ourselves as Christians," Hasan commented. New Gegrapha chapters of Christian journalists will be formed in several African countries, and there was a sense of deep commitment to support and pray for one another.

Next stop for Gegrapha will be at the regional level, with conferences in South Asia and Europe. Please pray for financially successful Christians to help us accomplish all this.


David Aikman, a regular Charisma columnist, is the founder and chairman of Gegrapha, a global fellowship of Christians in journalism (www.gegrapha.org). He can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Cindy Jacobs

    2017: Year of the Breakthrough

    "There will be a significant increase in miracles and signs and wonders."

  • Foot washing

    Shaking the Gates of Hell With a Basin of Water and a Towel

    "When I saw His foot, I knew He had come to take back territory the enemy had stolen from His ...

  • Growing relationship

    2017 Prophetic Word: The Supernatural Key to Growing Your Relationship With God

    It's vital that we understand what comes from God and what comes from the devil.

  • Are you willing to volunteer for God's offensive army?

    Prophetic Word: Preparing for God's World War 3

    God is searching for soldiers of the cross who are willing to volunteer for His offensive army.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit