Media is used as a tool for sensitization and educating the community on what takes place within their society and the world as a whole. It has been used to bridge people with the outside world by providing information concerning current world affairs and the state of thing as they happen or appear in contemporary society. It is their duty to ensure that information is presented in the community, and the content is relevant. However, free press violation has become a topic of discussion over the recent past. Journalists can no longer be trusted with the news they provide to the people. Media freedom has become a major issue affecting media companies and journalism. This lack of freedom has resulted in poor news coverage and loss of consistency in the information that most journalists report to the media. Evidently, it can be seen by the high level of insecurity the media companies from their exposure to the government and other superior parties. Press freedom has become a major concern when dealing with the authenticity and validity of the news journalists provide. They are consistently regulated and supervised by the government and other powerful organizations on what they should present or not. As a result, journalists and media companies are deprived from their freedom of expression and speech.
Media freedom refers to the ability to have the will to address the issue without restriction or favor. It entails the will to communicate and relay information to the public without restriction or biasness (Fritz 536). An independent press or media is the one that is not restrained to the kind of information they cover or communicate to the population. However, media freedom is not sufficiently exercised in most countries due to the power governments have to them. The introduction of policies and laws has governed the way journalists cover information and present it to their respective media houses. Large and powerful organizations take the initiative to control how the media conduct their research and the nature of news they provide to the public. Therefore, the media no long has the freedom of communication or expression due to the strict supervision that they face from different governmental officials and organizations.
Why Media Freedom and Oppression are Problematic for Media Environment
When discussing challenges experienced by journalist, the discussion in never complete without mentioning media freedom and oppression. Firstly, it is a significant problem since every human being has the right to freedom of speech, opinion, and expression. It means, no one should be banned from giving their opinion or their opinion be influenced by anybody. This problem is experienced worldwide, which has seen activists and non-governmental organizations fighting for the rights of journalists and promoting freedom of media. Some of the known non-governmental organizations include the Reporters without Borders, the committee to protect journalists in the United States, Freedom House in the United States, and many others around the world.
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Media oppression is manifested in several ways; one of them is through governmental laws and regulations placed by particular countries to limit the activities of media. In some countries, such as Eritrea in Africa, journalists, who cover issues that the government does not like, are imprisoned. Other policies seen in some countries include a limitation to access independent news that is not generated from legal sources. Press freedom in some countries is limited by the government through constant harassment such as raiding their media houses or false accusations against the journalists. In some countries, journalists’ movements are restricted, and foreign press is banned from collecting information in those countries. Restriction of the internet by the government is another form of oppression, whereby the government blocks news websites, interactive social media blogs, and other social networking sites in the countries like Iran. Apart from laws and regulations, journalists have felt that their freedom is taken for granted when they are prosecuted for reporting issues and when the government spies on them.
Oppression is clearly a significant problem due to the effects it has on the press and journalists. Thus, persecution has led to the imprisonment of innocent journalists while others are kidnapped and tortured by the government; in some cases, journalists have even been killed. In Azerbaijan, for example, one of the independent and award-winning journalists was jailed together with other bloggers. Kidnapping cases have been on the rise, especially in the countries that are not quite democratic or that are prone to terrorism activities. This oppression and suffering caused to journalists are the violation of their human rights and the freedom of speech and expression. Imprisonment and false accusations often force journalists to go into exile, or they become discouraged from continuing covering various stories out of fear of being executed.
Restricting freedom of press leads to the inaccuracy of information and poor coverage. In some countries, the media is given topics to cover by the government, and only specific topics are allowed by the government. Limitation of information affects the country in general since many political, social, and economic issues are ignored, which hinders the development of such countries. The consequences are clear that the oppression of press in a big problem in the media, and it needs to be addressed.
Activists and non-governmental organizations have insisted on the benefit of having a free press as a way of convincing the governments to remove restrictions on journalism. Some of the advantages of having a free press include the proper flow of information from the state to its citizen and a forum for discussing political, social, and economic issues. In countries, which are prone to terrorism, the media can be used as a tool to fight terrorism, but instead, these countries have become a number one jailer of journalists in the world.
Connection to Personal Interests and Ethics
Media freedom is essential both ethical and professionality. Every journalist must embrace the free will to communicate and express their idea without fear of oppression from authorities. According to the values of a good journalist, one is expected to provide detailed accounts of the event that can bring knowledge and educated people. However, this is only possible when there is media freedom, the ability to expresses oneself without fear. Today, many journalists are afraid of their governments, especially corrupt ones and the officials who urge restriction on civil and media freedom. As a reporter, one should be able to stand their ground and express what they believe to be true.
As a journalist, my interest has always been to fight for the freedom of expression, and this is not well represented in the cases of media freedom in most countries. As mentioned, journalists have been jailed and some even murdered by the government or the people with power due to the information they provide (Turner and Larson 55). There is great insecurity due to lack of media freedom among journalists, which poses a great threat to press and media companies. The government plays the center stage when addressing the increased level of insecurity in the media. Thus, the instability and increase of corruption within a state are among the contributing factors to lack of media freedom.
Freedom is a cornerstone of democratic society, and the violation of free expression is equal to degrading democracy. A free nation offers its citizens the opportunity to contribute to free expression, and for journalists, the value of speech is paramount. A good journalist must engage in media development through emphasizing the importance of transparency and accountability. It is essential for media to cover the news without favor on the side of the government or powerful organizations due to the threats or fear. Hence, the value of media freedom is necessary when considering ethics in this industry. Any form of corruption or unjust policies from the states that can infringe the freedom of press should be addressed accordingly Okulicz-kozaryn 1009). Every journalist has a responsibility to play in promoting free press. The media is used as the voice of weak citizens. Thus, it helps in fighting issues like poor governance, poverty, corruption, and any matter that affects the community. Therefore, the freedom to do this is required by media companies to communicate truth to society effectively.
Subsequently, the value of truth and justice is important, and for journalists, upholding free press is considered a way of boosting trustworthy and equal rights. Denying or hiding some information from the public due to lack of freedom of expression or communication affects the authenticity or purpose of the media. Therefore, freedom of speech must be practiced by media companies or journalists despite the consequences or any conditions. People need to get the whole story, and it is the duty of the press to provide information.
Solution to the Problem of Media Freedom
The fight for media freedom is inevitable; rather, it is a process that brings the changes in the way freedom of expression and fundamental human right is practiced. The need to contextualize the necessary laws and policies within a broader framework of the law in fighting freedom violation is necessary. Society must change their perception concerning the media and provide a constructive engagement towards fighting for media freedom. In the search for solution-oriented measures, the government must first be considered since it is the key player in passing judicial reforms and policies that violate media freedom. Thus, to address the impediment of a free media and communication, the government must change judicial reforms and policy packages that restrict the freedom of speech and free press. It is the duty of the government to find a solution to help advance media freedom. In addition, they can formulate laws to protect local and foreign journalists from attacks and imprisonment.
Civil society should emphasize the rule of law, pluralism, and judicial independence to help solve the issue of freedom and the violation of press. Rights. It must advocate the abolition of the practice of persecution and imprisonment of journalists. They must campaign against government’s involvement in journalistic activities. Moreover, to help promote free press, the government must stop overregulation and censorship of media content and stop the interference with online activities. Any restriction on independent media activities, such as digital and print media, must be stopped to promote media freedom.
Conglomerating of the press by the government must halt. This affects the development of private media companies since the state monopolizes the communication sector, thus destroying any upcoming media companies. Free media must be protected, and any move by the government in the form of controlling or protecting the media market should not be tolerated. Such moves are used to undermine the development of free press, media companies, and journalists.
All in all, media freedom is important in recognizing the fundamental human right of freedom of expression. Thus, interference with journalistic work and overregulation of free press has affected the way information is provided to people as well as the nature of this information. This is contrary to journalists’ professional ethics, and hence, there is a need for freedom of speech and communication for them. The government should not get involved in media activities and avoid censorship of media activities to help promote media freedom and stop the persecutions of journalists.