Freedom of the Press Essay Examples & Outline
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Freedom of the Press
In the past, governments have put on restrictions and sanctions that prevented the press’s reports on sensitive and controversial topics such as corruption, embarrassing moments of dignitaries, political and bureaucratic malfeasance among others. The trend has however changed since the press has been given more freedom. Whilst this development has sparked a lot of discord among various members of the society.
It is undeniable that it has also led to a clearer perspective on democracy and development as well as increased accountability, not only in the government and various government agencies, but also in the society at large (Sadurski, n.d.). This research paper has employed a comparison approach in order to ascertain the fact that freedom of the press in such changing times does better than harm in the society and should, therefore, be embraced.
The research paper will focus on the pros of freedom of the press, more so the coverage by the press of sensitive and controversial topics. This research should appeal to readers because ignorance is no longer bliss (Hebert, 2005). It is, in fact, catastrophic for anyone to go lead a life without knowledge, and consequently feel contented about their lack of information. It is about time individuals started thirsting for the blind spots, that portion that is not known to us. Otherwise, the gullibility in the society will continue escalating.
Freedom of the press increases accountability in the various government departments. A major sensitive topic is the area of corruption especially in the highest levels of the government. In most developing countries, the press's voice has been muffled concerning the topic and their journalists even threatened if they as much as breathe a word of such dealings. Consequently, most developing countries have had to suffer underdevelopment and receding economic growth as most of the wealth goes to the hands of the minority and powerful (Sadurski, n.d.).
As such, the press can change such a situation. Journalists always believe that their work is meant to deliver change and as cliché as that sounds, it happens to be true (Hebert, 2005). Journalist’s coverage of corruption enhances accountability in the government as it keeps government officials under scrutiny and hence they cannot act in manners that are only self-serving as they will have to answer to the public.
Secondly, the press caters for the information asymmetry that exists between the government and the public. The government usually has more information than the public and as such, it is upon the press to provide such information to the public regardless of how sensitive or controversial the topic may be (Sadurski, n.d.). This has the effect of increasing the quality of decisions made. This is beneficial especially where such decisions involve investments. A true account of the current state of a country’s economic conditions enables investors, both domestic and foreign, to make informed investment decisions. This has the tendency to foster global peace as investors, especially foreign ones, sustain their confidence in such a country.
Finally, freedom of the press can have a bearing on conflict resolution. Of importance is the neutrality of the press when reporting on the existence of conflict between parties. They should cover the conflict in a discrete, and sensitive manner in order to provide both sides with sufficient information to resolve their issues. This will result in fostering peaceful coexistence between individuals and even states.
The ability of the press to cover instances of discord among the members of the society creates the real picture of the problems creating the conducive environment for the conflict resolution. Coverage of the conflicts calls for the application of tact in that the failure of the press to be objective can lead to the development of spillover effects of the conflict (Hebert, 2005). The conflict management approach has to be covered in an open manner to increase the value of the decision. It also increases the candidness of the interventions.
The press should be able to maintain independence and objectivity. It is these, after all, that gives their work the credibility needed to shape and form the opinion of individuals. Objective reporting refers to the presentation of the information as it should be without having to favor one side. The development of the right reporting approach leads to the development of trust among the respective consumers of the content presented to the public. It also creates the reliability and consistency that is important in the creation for future references. When the press is incapable of working in an objective manner, there are chances of loss to the public in terms of the derailment in development (Sadurski, n.d.).
In conclusion, economies should emphasize on the freedom of the press if sustainable economic development is to be achieved. The press is currently better trained than traditionally to cover sensitive issues, especially those that are likely to result in conflicts. Journalists nowadays understand the significance of maintaining ethics and professionalism in reporting sensitive topics and they have also been trained to exercise discretion in reporting such issues especially those pertaining to matters of national security whereby an enemy of the state can use the information to cause disruption to the stability of the country.
Hebert, D. (2005). Freedom of the press. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
Sadurski, W. Freedom of the Press and General Theory of Freedom of Speech. SSRN Journal. doi:10.2139/ssrn.1923486