Thursday, May 30, 2013

Freedom of the press and Government

This is one of the most fundamental rights enshrined in the first amendment to the U.S. constitution. That is why you see the press jealously guarding its freedom and any hint of government interference or snooping is very much frowned upon. And the case of the Justice Department seizing information from Associated Press has created a firestorm in the media and Washington D.C. But only in the U.S. (or some other western countries) this may happen. If you look at the developing countries, journalists get killed or intimidated by the government and the criminals to report only their side of the story and being a journalist is a really dangerous job. In some places, some journalists are paid to be informant of the government and some are asked to publish stories only favorably to a certain party. And don’t believe that all journalists follow ethical standards in dangerous countries as they do have to survive and save their lives and thus self censorship is practiced widely. Journalism is not an easy job and I salute the people who follow this career despite all the risks that it carries. I believe in the Freedom of the press and the government has no right to interfere in its working otherwise we would not really know what is going on clandestinely or otherwise in some shady areas. But here is my dilemma how do you reconcile freedom of the press with national security and how do you define what is national security when you are trying to do your job. Tough decision and that is why I am not in the business of Journalism. I have no idea how to balance this notion of national security and reporting on a story which can help inform public. That is where the role of journalists come into play and hence we need the freedom of the Press.

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