” nations simply cannotafford.” Do you agree?In the 21st century society, the human race has become its own greatestenemy. Progressing at an incalculably rapid speed, technology, social andhumanitarian issues are threatening the very existence of human beings asindividuals. A century ago, individuals faced a change in societal values,technology, and an outbreak of rebellions and wars. A century ago, therewas a lack of awareness of the outside world, and constant conflict betweenchange and lack thereof. A century ago, social, technological andhumanitarian issues were swept under the carpet because individuals werenot aware of their problems, did not know how to solve these issues, oreven worse, did not want to resolve them.
Now, in the 21st century, thehuman race faces yet another challenge. The constant upheavals of societalvalues and technology have made individuals uncertain of who they are,where they stand in society and what the reality of their situationactually is. Now, they face the constant conflict between change and toomuch change. Individuals in the 21st century society face greatdifficulties in resolving issues of change because of political pointgaining, social controversy and the incessant manipulation of truth. Theproblems of the 21st century are of momentous proportion unforeseen by anyother generation of the human race. Terrorism, famine, poverty, wars, AIDS,refugees, crime and drugs are only some of the many issues that society canno longer sweep under the carpet. Free press is the only way thatatrocities against humanity can be voiced, heard and addressed.For centuries, governments have manipulated the truth to suit their wantsand needs, and their wants and needs only.
Although times, values andbeliefs have changed, the manipulation of truth has not. The presence offree press acts as a watchdog for those daring to abuse their power andauthority. Without free press, the oppression of rights by the Taliban andother such regimes would go past unheard by an otherwise deaf society.Without free press, the crimes committed by the Chinese government andother such governments would go past unseen by an otherwise blind society.Without free press, the destruction of indigenous cultures around the worldwould go past unknown by an otherwise prejudiced society.Women’s rights did not eventuate because society decided to open its eyes.The manipulation of truth by governments was not elucidated because societydecided to open its ears. Issues of poverty and famine in third worldcountries drowning in foreign debt were not brought forward because societydecided to open its heart.
The defects in the 21st century society arehighlighted by free press, and free press alone. The fundamental benefit offree press is that it enables individuals to discern for themselves whatthe truth is, after receiving reports about what is happening in theircountry, in the world and in society as a whole. Today in the 21st centurysociety, the media is a watchdog that serves as a critic for atrocitiesagainst individuals, civilizations and humanity.To those individuals presiding in developed, privileged and wealthycountries, access to information and free press is, quite simply, at thetip of their fingertips. Information can be acquired from a variety oftelevision networks, newspapers, magazines, websites, programs andpublications. Yet access to this information is available to only thosefortunate enough to afford them. The majority of today’s civilised andmodernized societies preside under the thrall of tyranny, whereby which,only officially approved information appears in the media. There are thoseindividuals in less developed and privileged countries that continue tosuffer under a barrage of lies, inevitably to die from hunger or thirst fora word of truth.
Hundreds of millions of people in the 21st century society have no contactwith the media. In many parts of Africa, television, radio and evennewspapers are nonexistent. Even though some countries are fortunate enoughto receive TV transmissions, there are many individuals who cannot affordthe luxury of TV sets. A significant portion of humanity still livesoutside of the influence of the media and has no reason to worry aboutmedia manipulation, or the bad influence of the mass media, or even enjoythe liberties bestowed by free press. This shows that it is therefore theobligation of all developing countries to see that freedom of the press isnot abused because it is one luxury they cannot afford to lose. The loss ofsuch a way of expressing societies views would be detrimental to the futureof said society. The citizen of a country with no press or from ofexpression cannot not develop the country and would flounder in theexpressions of other countries.
The loss of expression of ideas ofdeveloping countries would halt the forward movement of the country leavingthem destitute.Even with the ideals of democracy, and freedom of expression, speech andopinion, many individuals and groups are denied access to free press,information, and furthermore, to truth. In South Africa, a country whosegovernment is fundamentally structured on the ideals of democracy, one intwo women are victims to rape and sexual assault. Despite the magnitude ofthe violence, a recent anti-rape TV advertisement (starring South Africanactor Charlize Theron) was banned by the Advertisement Standards Authorityfor being offensive to men.
If the freedom of the press can be manipulatedto suit authorities and their needs, then it is no longer free press and itis no longer democracy.In the 21st century society, there are questions of rights, socialproblems, societal dilemmas and change. The answer to so many questions canbe found in free press.
Free press is a democracy – a democracy thatrecognizes the voices of the oppressed, the endangered, the wrong and thewronged. The progress that society has made cannot be credited to one man,one country or one nation. The deterioration of humanity cannot be blamedon one man, one country of one nation. Yet the salvation of rights,conservation of freedom and the elucidation of truth in the 21st centuryshould be the contribution of free press. No longer will atrocities beswept under the carpet, because free press is the vacuum cleaner that willreveal the filth of our society. No longer will atrocities be swept underthe carpet because the truth can be, and will be told.Bibliography . Karlekar Deutsch Karin.
Freedom of the Press 2003. New York. Rowan andLittlefield Publishers Inc.2003. All Africa.com 11th Feb.
2004. Google .com. Euobserver.com