What is a “free press”?
Free press, conventionally, indicates that the reporters are properly equipped to and are “free” in journalism activities, to investigate, inquire, and communicate fact… in a context of relevance to human activity and human comprehension.
“Free”, means that no corporate or government interference is dictating the “direction” of the reporting, in order to suit political agenda of leaders, or to conspire against its citizenry. Was reporting ever 100% free of manipulation? Probably not as modern global media began to take root during modern day. The credence we give to the reporters and to the validity of the reporting, is our responsibility, so that we can all depend on useful information that forms decisions – because the people do not want to be conditioned to comply with corporate servitude, the government’s needs, or any autocratic assembly. Rather, the institutions serve the public. Any other press, is not considered “free” by definitive absences.
A free press today, is enforced and set into motion, through the great contributions of the internet and all who exercise free speech in and on it. The internet is a medium that like traditional print and other cable, allows for rapid communication that can also challenge the more traditional methods. It is a medium, only as dependable as how well it is used, protected, and valued.
Free press, in all mediums, is not only freedom afforded the messenger to report a story… it is also freedom for the public to interpret the story… as each see fit by his or her ability to recognize truth.
It is not the government’s right, to determine what propaganda is, nor to identify competing ideas as such. A free people, can choose to make that determination. Foreign press, sometimes rejected by domestic governments in any country, is integral to a free press.
Education, is the means by which we become obligated and deeply invested in sorting fact from fiction. Journalism must seek to report truthfully… out of obligation and responsibility to truth; and, citizens must seek the truth, or risk being bamboozled and used. The responsibility of every person, is to reject falsehood and hold journalists to a high standard of reporting – reporting which requires often travel to far away locations and dangerous situations. Correspondents and legal protections for their work are required.
In testing the virtue of journalism, the free press should constantly be tested by skepticism. State sponsored, corporate media, propaganda, and sensationalism, are often warring with the truth. But, an educated society, can remember to question what is being told. And, hopefully, it does analyze what is being said. Reporting differs from opinion. Reporting is integral to shaping societal policy.
Opinion is best left, to the person who is responding to the reporting.