Today is World Press Freedom Day. This annual event was created by the United Nations and is meant to remind people and governments of the importance of a free press.
Freedom of the Press has always been vital to democracy, but these days it seems like we need to constantly remind ourselves of it.
I never paid much attention to how governments controlled and influenced the press and the news cycle until I went to college for political science. I started to see that the news media, which most of us instinctively trust, is not always the best source for a fair reporting of what’s really happening in the world.
Many governments around the world control their journalists in extreme ways, such as these ten countries that are the most censored around the world.
It’s not just in countries that are known for their dictatorships and human rights violations that the press is not able to work freely. It even happens in America.
President Donald Trump repeatedly threatens the media for it’s “fake news” when it’s not favorable to him, even going as far as to consider not allowing certain news outlets into his press conferences. In 2014, the Society of Professional Journalists accused Barack Obama of not being transparent enough and blocking certain people from speaking to the press. It doesn’t matter if our leaders are democrat or republican, there are always going to be people that bend the press to their own needs.
2019 World Press Freedom Day has an overall theme of supporting the press during election cycles.
With the U.S. Presidential election coming next year, we should all remember to support the journalists and news agencies that work tirelessly to bring us stories of the important events happening all over the world.
It can be dangerous for journalists that go against the wishes of their governments, and journalists can be murdered for doing their job. It’s up to us as citizens to demand a free press.
There are organizations all over the world that work to make sure journalists have the support they need. Two of them that work in the United States are the ACLU and the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
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