WHY IS MEDIA FREEDOM IMPORTANT?

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“Freedom of the Press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose.” – George Orwell.

Author: Bardhyl Zaimi

Freedom of the press remains one of the pillars of democracy. Today is World Press Freedom Day, a moment to reflect on this undisputed value in the space of political and democratic freedom. Freedom of the press remains a fundamental value of the free democratic world, all that implies progress, which implies unimpeded functioning of the media, as a space in which the idea of being informed and being an active subject in democratic life makes sense. .

There cannot be a functioning democracy if the media is not free. The press freedom performs the entire planimetry of institutional and social life in the space of public life and common interest. The media are undisputed vectors in political, social and cultural dynamics. They create political sensitivity and civic responsibility to governments, as a qualitative democratic interdependence in function of human dignity and well-being.

In a completely digitalized world, human appears as a media being, as a being who relentlessly receives information. He is the subject of this media space and at the same time the subject of democratic life. Obtaining quality information is a crucial predisposition for a well-informed citizen, who always remains a dignified subject in the democratic space. In this way, he becomes an active individual, a responsible being on political and social processes.

The media is the voice and the necessary space of the active and responsible citizen in the public space. The media is the square of permanent debate, of freedom in the political, democratic and cultural sense. Without this tribal dimension, the human world is in danger of being exposed to the power of governance, the violation of freedom, the violation of democratic values that give meaning to the human being.

The media is a space of freedom, of the public interest, of all that is meant by a system of values and democratic functioning. More than once, this space of freedom has been attacked by the power, by various ideologies, by all those undemocratic forces that require silent obedience and totalitarian shadows. Another attack on this freedom now comes from misinformation and false news, which pose a permanent risk to the quality information of citizens.

Precisely in the time of the corona virus, such news are present with unprecedented force. Misinformation, fake news and various spins seek to undermine professional information. This danger, already on World Press Freedom Day, has received a response that comes as a joint statement by the EU foreign ministers. The statement emphasized the importance of free media, especially during the corona virus. This year’s motto of World Press Freedom Day is “Journalist without fear and without privilege”

Moreover, independent media is a condition for a functioning democracy. There can be no free and progressive society without independent media. The quality of democracy also depends on the quality of information. Professional and quality journalism is facing major challenges. The more professional journalism is strengthened, the more democracy gains the permanent guardian of its values.

Undoubtedly, we are already facing a vital and meaningful interaction between independent media that cultivate and promote professional journalism and citizens as an integral part of democratic processes. In a time of numerous media manipulations, the concept of media education and literacy remains imperative, as a predisposition to create a good space for information and communication. The tendency to undermine the quality of information space must necessarily find an urgent response to the promotion and application of media literacy as a key predisposition to decode media manipulation and to construct a good interaction between independent media and active citizens in public life.

Only by persistently aiming at media education and literacy can another predisposition to quality media information be created, thus avoiding all that volume of false news and other misinformation created by the media cacophony and thus confusing citizens. Press Freedom Day remains a reflective moment precisely on this imperative, which from now on must find its own farming widely in the space of democratic and media functioning. This education should be thought out and professionally designed, especially at the time of the omnipresence of information, at the time of the flood of news that is based on half-truths, on agendas and on various conspiracies.

 

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The Balkan Institute for Regional Cooperation – BIRC is non-governmental and non-partisan, fully independent in its operations, based in Tetovo. The organization is committed to promoting and practicing quality journalism and scientific research in fulfilling of its goals for a society with democratic values, transparent institutions, functional democracy and the creation of a region of cooperation and prosperity. BIRC is made up of proven experts in the field of journalism and science.