Friday, 3 May 2013

World Press Freedom Day



So, today, Friday May 3rd 2013 is World Press Freedom Day.

As most of you know, this is an event organized by the UN - that celebrates it's 20th anniversary today - held to give the world an opportunity to:
  • "Celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom;
  • Assess the state of press freedom throughout the world;
  • Defend the media from attacks on their independence;
  • Pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty."

2013's theme is: Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media

I'm aware that it's not the best mind frame or attitude to say that something could never be achieved or that it's too farfetched, but if I say the obvious I wouldn't be the first to say it. And to be honest, even by saying what I'm about to say, I wouldn't be the first either. But still. I feel like it has to be said. I'd rather participate than be a full-time mindless consumer.

I found a color-coded diagram right here on The Guardian  that is trying to show the situation of freedom of the press worldwide. Looking at it quite briefly and generally I'd say that it's roughly accurate.

But here's my thing with this whole freedom of the press thing. That diagram could never be fully white. It could never even be fully orange or yellow. It's just not possible. By protesting to improve situations in most places, we are proposing to improve the countries that are currently yellow, because that would be possible, but taking China as an example, or even some arab and western countries, you could never completely free the press, because there's something going on in hindsight and that's the actual politics, relations and attitudes of different countries towards each other.

By freeing the press you are giving the people a free platform to communicate and share ideas with the rest of the country's citizens and on a larger scale; the world. Therefore you are now in a position of power. You are capable of changing an entire population's mindset if you sound like you know what you're talking about (and of course even when you actually know what you're talking about). But where does that put the government? Where is that privilege and control the government has over the people. By controlling the media and news outlets you are essentially controlling and monitoring what your country's finding out about itself and the world around it. And that is a very risky move from the government's perspective.

But on the other hand, if people are given permission to share their thoughts freely, what's more likely; that they'll rave and cause nothing but havoc and chaos or just be content to know that they're being heard?

I don't consider myself an expert on this, so I'm simply sharing thoughts..but yeah..that has always been very interesting to me.

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