Fidelity bank card banner Camano banner
Importance of press freedom in a democracy

By David Childs on 04/05/2019

Views: 535


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Introduction

From the dawn of the United States of America with the creation of the three branches of the government, journalists and news reporters have played the role of informing the people and holding political leaders accountable. The First Amendment that offers “freedom of speech and of the press” has been the aspect of the American constitution that has long empowered journalist to speak the truth, even if they are under duress and in harm’s way. Since the inception of the United States there has been conflict and tension between the press and governmental officials. In this way, Patrick D’Arcy (Editorial Manager of the TED Fellows program) states that “US history has been marked by an ongoing conflict between the government’s attempts to strengthen and protect itself and the press’s attempts to scrutinize and report on the government.” Part of the United State’s success as a democracy is owed to the country having a free press. D’Arcy also points out that “some of the most important voices before and during the American Revolution were anonymous pamphleteers who were writing under pseudonyms, talking about the crimes of the British government… speeches, pamphlets and newspapers” during the revolution “were critical in informing and galvanizing public support for the revolt.”

Why Freedom of the Press is More Important Now Than Ever

Attacks on Journalists and the Press

The past few decades have seen ever growing attacks on US journalists and members of the press. These attacks are seemingly coming to a crescendo under the Trump administration. Information from the press has been consistently characterized as unreliable sources of information. However, this trend and growing disdain for journalist and the news media is not just relegated to the US, but has a world-wide phenomenon. Freedom House -A US-based non-profit independent watchdog group that has monitored attacks on freedom and democracy around the world for over three quarters of a century, stated that when freedom of the press is threatened it is “a threat to democracies.”

Attacks on the Records: The State of Global Press Freedom, 2017-2018

Because of much of the rhetoric hurled at the news media and the daily social media discourse disparaging journalists, there seems to be a growing public distrust of the news media and journalism. The term “fake news” has become a phrase that is used to discredit the validity of information coming from journalists and news outlets such as CNN, NPR, the Washington Post, The BBC News and the New York Times. Jim Rutenberg stated in an October 2018 New York Times article, that the term “fake news,” was coined by the Trump administration and casts all journalists (Accept those that agree with him) as the “enemy of the people.” This was a “negative branding campaign” that was aimed “against those who would hold him accountable” for his actions as the President of the United States. With many journalists and reporters being constantly under attack it is important to examine the critical role that the press plays in a democracy. The importance of the press and journalists in a democracy to keep the public informed and hold government officials accountable cannot be overstated.

The attacks on the news media has weakened the public’s faith in the press as a valid source of information. Rutenberg stated “By one measure, a CBS News poll over the summer, 91 percent of strong Trump supporters trust him to provide accurate information; 11 percent said the same about the news media.” This conversation becomes much more important and sinister when we are reminded that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi –who wrote a column regularly for the Washington Post, was killed by his government for being outspoken against the Saudi government. Read Jamal Khashoggi’s columns for The Washington Post

The Saudis then tried to cover it up and President Trump was very reluctant to condemn their government until he was backed into a corner when presented with overwhelming evidence.

Maybe He Did, Maybe He Didn’t’: Trump Defends Saudis, Downplays U.S. Intel

Importance of Free Press in a Democracy

Lawyer and free press advocate Trevor Timm states that “an independent press is one of the essential pillars of a democracy.” He also goes on to say that the First Amendment and its protection of the press “has always been the bulwark against secret government, against authoritarianism and against tyranny. The concept of a free press was intentionally and deliberately written into the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to preserve freedom of the people. The amendment was of grave importance in the eighteenth century during its inception, and is just as important now. The press is often thought of as a “fourth branch of government” because it also helps balance power in the government. Without that fourth branch the concept of a democratic system of government starts to weaken and after a while the democracy would crumble. We have examined the key role the press can play in a democracy. (Democracyandme)

 

Source News Express

Posted 04/05/2019 05:10:36 AM

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

 

You may also like...
The untold story of the life of music...

Africa poised to become the engine of economic...

Soldiers to attack Abonema?

Chibok saga: Michelle Obama goes emotional, says: ‘We...

Why Rivers may never know peace as long...

Teenage cattle breeder dies in Bomb blast

Buhari phones Emir of Katsina

Britain set to issue travel document to Nnamdi...

Flood ravages Lagos after heavy rain

Anambra to import grass from Kenya

Delta leaders warn ex-minister

Don’t delay in constituting new cabinet, Nigerians in...

 

Latest News 14 Army officers, soldiers face trial for murder, kidnapping We expect ministerial list in two weeks: Senators Baby cut from womb during brutal attack of mother dies Omo-Agege is a mace thief, Dino Melaye blasts new deputy senate president Ihedioha harassing me and my family, Okorocha cries out Some PDP lawmakers betrayed our party during NASS elections - Wike Nigeria’s universities have failed the country - Buhari Two killed in fresh Ebonyi, Cross River boundary crisis Kaduna: Governorship tribunal adjourns to June 17, as petitioners set to present 685 witnesses Insecurity: OPC warns kidnappers, herdsmen in southwest Drugmakers kick against prices on TV adverts Fire razes market in Ibadan, destroys goods worth millions of naira

 

Most Read NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (493,842 views) Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (425,153 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (364,903 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (311,430 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (275,901 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (243,806 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (233,676 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (215,604 views) 10 cars more expensive than Jets (212,062 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (204,151 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (184,319 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (183,631 views)

 

NNPC Financial reports February 2019

CBN banner advert

UBA Wise Savers Promo

 

Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (92) Business & Economy (4,308) Business Verdict (73) Columnists (1,051) Complaints & Requests (95) Enterprise & Opportunities (209) Entertainment (622) Features (759) Global Business Monitor (377) ICT Monitor (53) International (3,584) Interview (184) Live Commentary (30) Love Matters (162) Maggie's Blog (302) News (47,363) Opinion (1,260) Pidgin (17) Politics (11,012) Religion (1,021) Sports (2,041) Stock Watch (39) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

 

 

 

 

APO Group Partner

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member

 

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera