By Nora Znaidi
By Nora Znaidi
Rabat – Why does journalism have the reputation of being a profession of hardships? The answer is clear to me.
Seeking and telling the truth in order to inform the public and raise awareness is not an easy task. For ages, the press went through a lot of adversity in order to establish itself as the Fourth Estate in modern societies.
Actually, the main obstacle that the press faces is a lack of freedom to accomplish their mission without being controlled by an agenda. In fact, the media is a political, economic and social force to be reckoned with. For that reason, the stipulation of a free press was adopted into many constitutions and international law texts.
For instance, in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration on Human Rights Article 19 stipulates that, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” This article leaves no space for interference or influence from an outside force.
Along similar lines, the European Convention on Human Rights states in Article 10.1 that, “everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.”
According to these two examples, freedom of speech is a fundamental right given to every individual. However, the press is still suffering from many restrictions. In developing countries, the press is often dominated and controlled by the government and journalists remain oppressed. Moreover, secrecy and surveillance block the journalists’ access to information and thus restrict their freedom.
Consequently, they can’t broadcast the truth and public opinion is formed based on news that governments have already filtered and published in order to promote and reinforce the agendas of the state.
Nowadays, everyone is aware of the crucial role that the media plays in our world and its valuable contribution to making the world a better place. The media should be provided with a suitable environment to achieve its goals and journalists around the world should be given better working conditions.
It’s undeniable that the situation has improved and press freedoms have evolved over time. Having said that, we can’t really talk about a completely independent and free press for the simple facts that a lot of outlets depend on private companies and sponsors to maintain financially stable. Without a doubt, this situation creates some sort of influence on the media.
As a result, freedom of the press remains relative and the interests of political and economic decision-makers often trump the independence of journalists.
Every year, we celebrate world press freedom day to highlight the issues surrounding the media, and remind ourselves of the glorious mission of journalism: seeking and telling the truth.
Edited By Liz Yaslik
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