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World Press Freedom Day, May 3

World  (tags: Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Expression, Democracy, Human Rights )

- 3368 days ago -
World Press Freedom Day is celebrated across the globe every May 3rd, representing an opportunity to commemorate the fundamental principles of press freedom and to pay solemn tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty...


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Ben O (129)
Sunday May 2, 2010, 11:39 pm
Freedom of Information.
Transparency, accountability and the fight against corruption: FOI laws and beyond
Freedom of information can contribute to government openness and accountability, and help prevent and combat corruption, thereby enhancing good governance.
Yet freedom of information laws are not in themselves enough to achieve such goals, which also depend on broader elements of governance (for example, the level of independence between the different branches of government and how they interact), the existence of other laws that may curtail or guarantee freedom of expression and information, and on people’s values, practices and attitudes, among other factors. Another key factor is the existence of a press that is plural and independent of government and powerful commercial interests, which provides information that individuals need to hold government accountable.

For news media to promote transparency and accountability, FOI laws can be a critical tool. Also key is the safety of journalists and the protection of their sources. Of great help to the media’s watchdog role, and relevant to fighting corruption in general, are laws guaranteeing safety of whistleblowers. The same holds for other provisions to foster openness, like those related to disclosure of public officials’ assets, information about political parties and lobbying, or which mandate open government meetings. Detrimental to the media’s potential contribution are practices such as discriminatory use of advertising as a means of control, punitive taxation, concentration of media ownership, penal defamation laws, licensing requirements, abusive state secret acts, etc.

There is widespread recognition of the need to keep an eye on the watchdog, demanding accountability by the press itself. Promotion of professional, accurate and ethical reporting therefore becomes key, and may be enhanced by training journalists, undertaking media monitoring efforts, voluntary codes of practice and other mechanisms for self-regulation, for example. Finally, as mentioned elsewhere in this note, the development of information and media literacy, allowing the public to be more than passive recipients of messages channeled by the press, is also a relevant element of an accountability framework.

Ben O (129)
Sunday May 2, 2010, 11:40 pm
Reporters Without Borders:

Ben O (129)
Monday May 3, 2010, 1:04 am
"If the freedom of speech is taken away,
then dumb and silent we may be led,
like sheep to the slaughter"
(George Washington)

Ben O (129)
Monday May 3, 2010, 1:30 am
"Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost"
(Thomas Jefferson)
"The free press is the mother of all our liberties and of our progress under liberty"
(Adlai E Stevenson)

Ben O (129)
Monday May 3, 2010, 1:39 am
"Take away the right to say "DUCK" and you take away the right to say
"DUCK" the government."
(Lenny Bruce)

Past Member (0)
Monday May 3, 2010, 4:26 am
We are extremely fortunate to be living in a nation that still has the world's best free speech protections. People fought and died for these rights. Beware, there are some among us who want to take them away. Do not let them fool you with appeals to your safety, or your fear.

Here are some more words from a brave man in China who is struggling only to gain what we already have:

In the 21st century, freedom of expression has become the common right of people in most countries and sending writers to prison comes when 1,000 people point the finger at someone. From an objective point of view, to block the expression of people is like blocking a river; the high walls of the prison cannot block the expression of freedom. A government cannot suppress the legitimate expression of different opinions and cannot depend on throwing writers into prison as a way to remain in power in the long term. The problems of the pen can only be solved by the use of the pen. As soon as you use the gun to solve the problems of the pen, you will create a disaster of human rights. Only by eliminating the practice of throwing writers into prison can you guarantee that the freedom of speech promised in the constitution will be given to each citizen. Then will the right of freedom of speech be protected in a systematic way and the throwing of writers into prison will be banished for ever from the land of China.


Maurene T (122)
Monday May 3, 2010, 4:54 am
POTUS did a great job at the correspondents dinner this past weekend. After the laughs, he noted that freedom of the press must be alive and well and kicking.
Thanks for posting

Ben O (129)
Monday May 3, 2010, 4:54 am
Thanks Dianne,
In Sweden we have Freedom of Speech too, in some countries most of the people don't even know that they have censorship...

2010 : 168 journalists imprisoned.
In Azerbaijan, Burma, Cambodia, Cameroon, China (25), Cuba, Iran (26) North Korea, Ethiopia, Eritrea (25), Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Syria, Yemen...

Ben O (129)
Monday May 3, 2010, 5:10 am
Freedom of Expression
is a cornerstone of democratic rights and freedoms. In its very first session in 1946, before any human rights declarations or treaties had been adopted, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 59(I) stating "Freedom of information is a fundamental human right and ... the touchstone of all the freedoms to which the United Nations is consecrated."

Freedom of expression is essential in enabling democracy to work and public participation in decision-making. Citizens cannot exercise their right to vote effectively or take part in public decision-making if they do not have free access to information and ideas and are not able to express their views freely. Freedom of expression is thus not only important for individual dignity but also to participation, accountability and democracy. Violations of freedom of expression often go hand in hand with other violations, in particular the right to freedom of association and assembly.

Progress has been made in recent years in terms of securing respect for the right to freedom of expression. Efforts have been made to implement this right through specially constructed regional mechanisms. New opportunities are emerging for greater freedom of expression with the internet and worldwide satellite broadcasting. New threats are emerging too, for example with global media monopolies and pressures on independent media outlets.

liz c (827)
Monday May 3, 2010, 6:04 am
Great article Ben. And a great cause. I forget sometimes how fortunate I am that I can state my opinions without fear of retribution. I am so glad that this day commemmorates the fallen reporters. Thank you Ben.

Ben O (129)
Monday May 3, 2010, 6:08 am
Thanks Liz!
"You cannot currently send a star to liz because you have done so within the last week"

Sheryl G (359)
Monday May 3, 2010, 7:12 am
Thank you for posting this very important news! A most vital human right, the right to information. We should Honor those who bring that to the masses, who many times risk their own lives to bring that information to us.

Cynthia Davis (340)
Monday May 3, 2010, 7:28 am
Only by working to gain others freedoms do we assure our own.

Ben O (129)
Monday May 3, 2010, 7:38 am
"Please use Your liberty to promote ours"
(Aung San Suu Kyi)

mary f (200)
Monday May 3, 2010, 7:43 am
thanks ben great post sometimes we take our freedom for granted

Tierney G (381)
Monday May 3, 2010, 9:32 am
Thanks Ben, freedom is soo important. Thanks for the reminder of how good we have it in the way of speech here.

Russell Wyllie (6)
Monday May 3, 2010, 12:05 pm
World Press Freedom Day??? Never head of it...

Anyway, in the interests of freedom of Press I have this to say. President Obama is an ass.
He made threats of using nuclear weapons against Iran recently. It is against Islamic Law to possess or use nuclear weapons, and Iran has never shot one single missile at any country other than Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War, which was a war created and supported by America.

President Obama is a fine one to talk. For a man who is supposed to be so smart he sure says a lot of stupid things. Iran is not threatening any nation, nor do they have plans to attack any nation. U.S Govt and special interest groups place pressure on Obama to quack in favour of war, and the man is just a puppet, a mouthpiece for the defence industry, Israel and other similar anti-Iranian groups.

Leave Iran alone, let their economy flourish. Iran holds the 4th biggest oil deposits in the World, and with the Iranian economy doing well, surely other nations will be able to do good business with Iran? But the U.S strategy is not to keep it sweet with other nations. Currently the U.S has spent hundreds of billions of dollars positioning troops and their army equipment/military bases in the Middle East, and one-by-one the Islamic nations are being invaded, threatened, used and abused. While the Congo rages with civil war and thousands of innocent people dying in Darfur ,the Middle East is the focus of U.S army and economic interests.

Freedom of Press my ass. If we really believe in Press freedom, let's demand that major news networks go to Iran, the Congo and Darfur, and to get the facts right.
U.S uses the media to spin political bullying talk without any other version of events being made available.

The U.S media and Press are not free- they are used and abused by politicians...

Past Member (0)
Monday May 3, 2010, 3:12 pm
Thanks, Ben. Wasn't aware of a Freedom of Press day till just now. Your comments are great too. I think it's good to honor the press just as soldiers are honored because they are in harm's way, risking their lives and their all to expose truths and reveal stories to the world that would otherwise go unknown.

Magdalena M (0)
Monday May 3, 2010, 3:57 pm
Russell Wyllie, every country has different kind of freedom. US has a specific one. People think that they are free, but they are actually slaves. Some of them realize that... Obama promised to finish all wars... Did I miss it?
Iran has oil and what excuse will be used, doesn't matter. Probably again war against terrorists and to bring freedom to the world. Or another BS. Even kids here do not believe in those things. And actually it is not Obama, but corporations that have the power and are extremely greedy, human life does not count.

Monday May 3, 2010, 6:19 pm
bowing my head in memory of fallen journalists

Michael Masley (4)
Monday May 3, 2010, 6:22 pm
Thanks for keeping us all in the loop Ben!

Dalia H (1280)
Monday May 3, 2010, 6:25 pm
Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you"
You cannot currently send a star to Ben because you have done so within the last week.
Noted my Beloved Ben. Thank You so much.
Much Love,

. (0)
Monday May 3, 2010, 6:30 pm
I think Russell makes some good points about abuse of the press by political elites..not that this hasn't always gone on in one form or another..
In theory the west has freedom of the press (though Britain's libel laws make it more difficult to tell a truth regarding anyone with enough money to sue )I would though question the reality.Ownership of and access to the press is dependent upon wealth..and many newspapers operate according to economic principles (described by Nick Davies in his superb book Flat Earth News as giving rise to "churnalism") wherin investigative reporting is in decline..and more and more newspapers regurgitate the same stories usually taken from news agencies such as oppossed to seeking out their own stories.
Press power whether in the US or Uk is concentrated in fewer and fwer hands..most people see themselves as recipients of news and sadly when they read a story many do not use their critical facilties to analyze editorial viewpoints or newspaper ownership.In this way myths and untruths flourish .Sometimes these are dangerous myths racist myths..for instance negative stories about asylum seekers coming to the UK to "scrounge benefits"..such myths can result in attack and even injury or at worst murder..without hyperbole I would say that Rupert Murdoch has been responsible for many deaths in the UK ..yes I can criticise him but my view as a lowly paid nurse is never going to reach millions..because I like billions of others don't have the "freedom"to own a media empire..Media tycoons can pressure governments and whip up hysteria,they can shape laws..they can even play a part in taking a country to war.That sort of power is subtly dictatorial we can see by Fox News part in moving America ad Britain to the right.
We don't in reality have a free and democratic press..we have a media which is overwhelmingly skewered and dependent upon wealth.

Past Member (0)
Monday May 3, 2010, 7:15 pm
This was a very interesting article and it is true that very few people think about just what all is involved in being a reporter and the risk that they take so that we migh get the news but his work is very tedious and often dangerous with going into hurricains, toronados, bombing situations, airplane crashes and going into war zones. I know that when I was over in Deser Storm...we had journalist running right alon with us. Of course we had someone assigned to looking out for them as bet as possible, but they always had to wear blue bullet proof vest with the words "Journalist" clearly written on the vest so that they wouldn't be mistaken for the enemy...but this didn't alway keep them safe or alive. Often times, they woere wounded and or killed by explosives or by hidden mine fields. They gave their lives so that otheres might know first hand just what was really going on in the world and in the war. There are menay other incidents such as in Coast Guard Rescues where they are subjected to high waves, wind currents that shake the helicopter amd often times crashing them. Their lives are often lost in the line of Duty and they are seldom recognized for their bravery as well. So Kudos to the Hournalist! We appreciate !

Aletta Kraan (146)
Monday May 3, 2010, 8:22 pm
Noted , thanks !!

chris b (2474)
Tuesday May 4, 2010, 12:56 am
It should be remembered that many journalists have lost their lives reporting wars sometime killed by their own side as in the case of the UK ITN reporter killed by US fire in the Iraq war and many others across the years. Without journalists we would remain ignorant of the actions or otherwise of our governments etc and the corrupt activities behind much of what occurs in the world. The UK MPs expense's scandal is but the tip of an iceberg, a far reaching web of back door deals and nefarious activity often trailing back to the people who work the levers of power, in every corner of the world. So three cheers for the press corps!

Lou Olive (41)
Tuesday May 4, 2010, 4:55 am

Jayaraju Battula (6)
Tuesday May 4, 2010, 7:17 am

Mary Donnelly (47)
Tuesday May 4, 2010, 3:16 pm
Noted. Thanks.

Bracha Katz (31)
Tuesday May 4, 2010, 5:47 pm
i'll add this to my calendar, i wish it would already be in the calendars. we should all apreciate that we have freedom of press, it is priceless. thanx ben.

. (0)
Tuesday May 4, 2010, 6:53 pm
Yes there is a degree of press freedom and yes there are brave genuine people shining a light into dark places..but how easily the press can be brought into line for purposes that suit the status quo.For instance the US journaliist Doug Palast could not find any outlet in America to share his accurate findings on the criminal activities of those in Floridawho stole the 2000 election ..until it was too late.Also iit was generally agreed including by many within the media itself that America's press failed to ask the questions and do it's job prior to the invasion of Iraq.Why was the press so pathetic?why did so many journalists run scared of opposing the hegemony of false flag patriotism?Hegemony ,power and oligarchy keeps the press in line..why did the press only act in a way consistent with freedom "after" it mattered?..all due to power privilege and hegemony.
I'd love a totally free press.
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