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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

World Press Freedom Day: Free Press and Democracy

Freedom House.Org
In any democratic society, the most important civil liberty is the freedom of the press. The people have the right to get information particularly about how governments and other institutions are performing.

Freedom of the Press is a legal and constitutional right to exercise free communication and expression through multimedia means, broadcast (TV and radio), various print media, and electronic media including editorial or opinion blogs. Freedom of the Press means non-intrusion of the state in the dissemination of vital information relevant to the people, including reports of corruption and atrocity against dissents. The law protects this freedom.

However, granting that freedom, media exercise discretion to protect classified information that affects national security.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers" (FreedomHouse.Org)

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights. In its recent study, “the number of people worldwide with access to free and independent media declined to its lowest level in over a decade, according a Freedom House study released today. The report, Freedom of the Press 2011: A Global Survey of Media Independence, found that a number of key countries—including Egypt, Honduras, Hungary, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, and Ukraine—experienced significant declines, producing a global landscape in which only one in six people live in countries with a press that is designated Free” (Freedom House.Org).

Just last year, we have experienced one of the darkest hours of free press when 50 journalists have been brutally killed in the province of Maguindanao, Philippines. They have been covering the filing of a certificate of candidacy of a political rival of the ruling clan in the province when the unexpected massacre has taken place. It is ruthless. As of press time, the Maguindanao Massacre case remains in court.

Journalists around the world put they lives on the line to keep democracy alive.

Since 2004, Freedom House has reported intimidating deterioration in the freedom of the press in many countries worldwide. They cite censorship, restrictive press regulation, harassment and crackdowns even on religious minorities as tools to control journalists. In response, Freedom House engages in multi-faceted advocacy campaign to defend this fundamental right.

I support all efforts to protect Press Freedom. As you can see, I display “Stop Killing Journalists” badge to express my support to journalists who risk their lives to protect our sacred right to information.

Free Press Ribbon Image Above Courtesy Of: 

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