Freedom of the press is a luxury that developing

” nations simply cannotafford.” Do you agree?
In the 21st century society, the human race has become its own greatest
enemy. Progressing at an incalculably rapid speed, technology, social and
humanitarian issues are threatening the very existence of human beings as
individuals. A century ago, individuals faced a change in societal values,
technology, and an outbreak of rebellions and wars. A century ago, there
was a lack of awareness of the outside world, and constant conflict between
change and lack thereof. A century ago, social, technological and
humanitarian issues were swept under the carpet because individuals were
not aware of their problems, did not know how to solve these issues, or
even worse, did not want to resolve them. Now, in the 21st century, the
human race faces yet another challenge. The constant upheavals of societal
values and technology have made individuals uncertain of who they are,
where they stand in society and what the reality of their situation
actually is. Now, they face the constant conflict between change and too
much change. Individuals in the 21st century society face great
difficulties in resolving issues of change because of political point
gaining, social controversy and the incessant manipulation of truth. The
problems of the 21st century are of momentous proportion unforeseen by any
other generation of the human race. Terrorism, famine, poverty, wars, AIDS,
refugees, crime and drugs are only some of the many issues that society can
no longer sweep under the carpet. Free press is the only way that
atrocities against humanity can be voiced, heard and addressed.

For centuries, governments have manipulated the truth to suit their wants
and needs, and their wants and needs only. Although times, values and
beliefs have changed, the manipulation of truth has not. The presence of
free press acts as a watchdog for those daring to abuse their power and
authority. Without free press, the oppression of rights by the Taliban and
other such regimes would go past unheard by an otherwise deaf society.

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Without free press, the crimes committed by the Chinese government and
other such governments would go past unseen by an otherwise blind society.

Without free press, the destruction of indigenous cultures around the world
would 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 society
decided to open its ears. Issues of poverty and famine in third world
countries drowning in foreign debt were not brought forward because society
decided to open its heart. The defects in the 21st century society are
highlighted by free press, and free press alone. The fundamental benefit of
free press is that it enables individuals to discern for themselves what
the truth is, after receiving reports about what is happening in their
country, in the world and in society as a whole. Today in the 21st century
society, the media is a watchdog that serves as a critic for atrocities
against individuals, civilizations and humanity.

To those individuals presiding in developed, privileged and wealthy
countries, access to information and free press is, quite simply, at the
tip of their fingertips. Information can be acquired from a variety of
television networks, newspapers, magazines, websites, programs and
publications. Yet access to this information is available to only those
fortunate enough to afford them. The majority of today’s civilised and
modernized societies preside under the thrall of tyranny, whereby which,
only officially approved information appears in the media. There are those
individuals in less developed and privileged countries that continue to
suffer under a barrage of lies, inevitably to die from hunger or thirst for
a word of truth.

Hundreds of millions of people in the 21st century society have no contact
with the media. In many parts of Africa, television, radio and even
newspapers are nonexistent. Even though some countries are fortunate enough
to receive TV transmissions, there are many individuals who cannot afford
the luxury of TV sets. A significant portion of humanity still lives
outside of the influence of the media and has no reason to worry about
media manipulation, or the bad influence of the mass media, or even enjoy
the liberties bestowed by free press. This shows that it is therefore the
obligation of all developing countries to see that freedom of the press is
not abused because it is one luxury they cannot afford to lose. The loss of
such a way of expressing societies views would be detrimental to the future
of said society. The citizen of a country with no press or from of
expression cannot not develop the country and would flounder in the
expressions of other countries. The loss of expression of ideas of
developing countries would halt the forward movement of the country leaving
them destitute.

Even with the ideals of democracy, and freedom of expression, speech and
opinion, many individuals and groups are denied access to free press,
information, and furthermore, to truth. In South Africa, a country whose
government is fundamentally structured on the ideals of democracy, one in
two women are victims to rape and sexual assault. Despite the magnitude of
the violence, a recent anti-rape TV advertisement (starring South African
actor Charlize Theron) was banned by the Advertisement Standards Authority
for being offensive to men. If the freedom of the press can be manipulated
to suit authorities and their needs, then it is no longer free press and it
is no longer democracy.

In the 21st century society, there are questions of rights, social
problems, societal dilemmas and change. The answer to so many questions can
be found in free press. Free press is a democracy – a democracy that
recognizes the voices of the oppressed, the endangered, the wrong and the
wronged. The progress that society has made cannot be credited to one man,
one country or one nation. The deterioration of humanity cannot be blamed
on one man, one country of one nation. Yet the salvation of rights,
conservation of freedom and the elucidation of truth in the 21st century
should be the contribution of free press. No longer will atrocities be
swept under the carpet, because free press is the vacuum cleaner that will
reveal the filth of our society. No longer will atrocities be swept under
the carpet because the truth can be, and will be told.

. Karlekar Deutsch Karin. Freedom of the Press 2003. New York. Rowan and
Littlefield Publishers Inc.2003
. All 11th Feb. 2004
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