Sunday, 10 July 2011

Free press and democracy

During the first week of class, we learned about free press and its link to democracy.

Media free of government involvement is called a free press. A more formal definition of free press is “the right to publish newspapers, magazines and other printed matter without restriction of the government and subject only to law.” Free press plays an important role in our society. It informs the public about issues they are unaware of. It also allows the truth to be published without consequences or fear from a higher authority. Freedom of the press is the freedom of communication and expression, and those freedoms cannot be taken away.

Censor means to review prior to publication or block news from being printed. Media should not be censored because it threatens the opportunity to tell the truth about the world. A free press is an uncensored press.

Free press ensures democracy exists in proper manner. Democracy is the form of government in which all citizens have an equal say and right in the decisions that affect their lives. The word ‘democracy’ comes from the Greek language, meaning “rule of the people.” In a democratic government, people have greater power than rulers because people have the right to vote. If people do not like their representatives, they can vote them out. Similarly, if they are pleased with their rulers, they will vote to keep them in power.

The basic principles of democracy are as follow:
1) It is ruled by the people. 
2) Elected and voted in by the people. 
3) Majority vote wins.

The link between free press and democracy is clear: people. People depend on the freedom of press to obtain the truth about what is happening within their own government and around the world. People hold power in a democracy. Thus, journalism is crucial for the existence of a peaceful, democratic nation. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn about journalism and indirectly participate in democracy—no matter how “corrupt” or “dysfunctional” it may be in Pakistan.

By Umair Saeed

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