In a Desperate Need of Freedom A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom it will never be anything but bad Albert Camus In a democratic state great importance is attached to freedom of press. A free press is considered to be one of the most essential features of a civil society; it is enshrined in most national constitutions. Yet the question is whether a free press does exist and if it is really vital nowadays. To begin with, freedom of press is proclaimed in democratic states. In laws of many countries we see that the government ensures freedom of speech, of press, freedom of expressing ideas. These are inevitable human rights which are allocated in the Declaration of Human Rights. However, we do not lack examples when the authorities feel free to ignore the basic rights named above. For instance, in Tajikistan the government suppressed all independent media. In Romania reporters are often under surveillance. In Russia several journalists were murdered (Anna Politkovskaya’s demise has got a wide coverage overseas). Even in the USA, known by its “most professional and responsible” press, there were cases of violation of freedom of press. On the whole, we should admit that a free press in only declared but, in fact, not respected. Still, why should the world care about freedom of media? Is a free press really essential in a contemporary society? I believe it is. So, let us have a look on main benefits which a free press gives. First of all, freedom is crucial to the quality of press. If editors and journalists have a right to define themselves what to write about and how to express their ideas, thus, they will develop various kinds of getting, analyzing and presenting information.
For instance, freedom of press has pushed the development of investigative journalism. Second of all, only a free press can show the public a full spectrum of events, opinions and problems which exist in the society. It is a free press that is able to expose government’s failings, criticize its policy (and thus, influence it), reveal pressing issues such as corruption, financial fraud, power abuse etc. According to recent surveys, held in the USA, a majority of Americans believe that the media keeps powerful people from becoming too powerful. That is why, sometimes the government treats “the forth estate” cautiously. However, the press can be extremely useful to the authorities. If they manage to cultivate good working relations with the media, it will give the government a good opportunity to promote their ideas to the public and even (through the press) influence views of a society. Today nobody argues that one of the most valuable achievements of the world is freedom. Also, nobody doubts a great role of the press in our society. Nevertheless, establishing freedom of press all over the world is a pressing problem. I believe sooner or later people will understand the true value of a free press as without freedom the press “will never be anything but bad”.