Contributions Of Free Press Essay, Research Paper
In the 21st century society, the human race has become its own greatest enemy.
Progressing at an incalculably rapid speed, technology, social and humanitarian
issues are threatening the very existence of human beings as individuals.
A century ago, individuals faced a change in societal values, technology, and an
outbreak of rebellions and wars. A century ago, there was a lack of awareness of
the outside world, and constant conflict between change and lack thereof. A
century ago, social, technological and humanitarian issues were swept under the
carpet because individuals were not aware of their problems, did not know how to
solve these issues, or even worse, did not want to resolve them.
Now, in the 21st century, the human race faces yet another challenge. The
constant upheavals of societal values and technology have made individuals
uncertain of who they are, where they stand in society and what the reality of
their situation actually is. Now, they face the constant conflict between change
and too much change. Individuals in the 21st century society face great
difficulties in resolving issues of change because of political point-gaining,
social controversy and the incessant manipulation of ?truth?.
The problems of the 21st century are of momentous proportion unforseen by any
other generation of the human race. Terrorism, famine, poverty, wars, AIDS,
refugees, crime and drugs are only some of the many issues that society can no
longer sweep under the carpet.
Free press is the only way that atrocities against humanity can be voiced, heard
and addressed. For centuries, governments have manipulated the truth to suit
their wants and needs, and their wants and needs only. Although times, values
and beliefs have changed, the manipulation of truth hasn?t. The presence of free
press acts as a watchdog for those daring to abuse their power and authority.
Without free press, the oppression of rights by the Taliban and other such
regimes would go past unheard by an otherwise deaf society. Without free press,
the crimes committed by the Chinese government and other such governments would
go past unseen by an otherwise blind society. Without free press, the
destruction of indigenous cultures around the world would go past unknown by an
otherwise prejudiced society.
Women?s rights did not eventuate because society decided to open its eyes. The
manipulation of truth by governments was not elucidated because society decided
to open its ears. Issues of poverty and famine in third world countries drowning
in foreign debt were not brought forward because society decided to open its
heart. The defects in the 21st century society are highlighted by free press,
and free press alone.
The fundamental benefit of free press is that it enables individuals to discern
for themselves what the ?truth? is, after receiving reports about what is
happening in their country, in the world and in society as a whole. Today in the
21st century society, the media is a watchdog that serves as a critic for
atrocities against individuals, civilisations and humanity.
To those individuals presiding in developed, priviledged and wealthy countries,
access to information and ?free? press is, quite simply, at the tip of their
fingertips. Information can be accquired from a variety of television networks,
newspapers, magazines, websites, programs and publications. Yet access to this
information is available to only those fortunate enough to afford them.
The majority of today?s ?civilised? and modernised society preside under the
thrall of tyranny, whereby which, only officially approved information appears
in the media. There are those individuals in less developed and priviledged
countries who continue to suffer under a barrage of lies, inevitably to die from
hunger or thirst for a word of truth.
Hundreds of millions of people in the 21st century society have no contact with
the media. In many parts of Africa, television, radio and even newspapers are
nonexistent. Even though some countries are fortunate enough to receive TV
transmissions, there are many individuals who cannot afford the luxury of TV
A significant portion of humanity still lives outside of the influence of the
media and has no reason to worry about media manipulation, or the bad influence
of the mass media, or even enjoy the liberties bestowed by free press. For most
individuals in less developed nations, television and such mediums are not
expected to provide a serious interpretation of the world, any more than we
would expect such a thing from a circus.
Even with the ideals of democracy, and freedom of expression, speech and
opinion, many individuals and groups are denied access to free press,
information, and furthermore, to ?truth?. In South Africa, a country whose
government is fundamentally structured on the ideals of democracy, one in two
women are victims to rape and sexual assault. Despite the magnitude of the
violence, a recent anti-rape TV advertisement (starring South African actor
Charlize Theron) was banned by the Advertisement Standards Authority for being
?offensive? to men. If the freedom of the press can be manipulated to suit
authorities and their needs, then it is no longer ?free press? and it is no
In the 21st century society, there are questions of rights, social problems,
societal dilemmas and change. The answer to so many questions can be found in
free press. Free press is a democracy – a democracy that recognises the voices
of the oppressed, the endangered, the wrong and the wronged. The progress that
society has made can not be credited to one man, one country or one nation. The
deterioration of humanity cannot be blamed on one man, one country of one
nation. Yet the salvation of rights, conservation of freedom and the elucidation
of truth in the 21st century should be the contribution of free press.
As Thomas Jefferson once said, The foundation of democracy lies in the
belief that common men and women can exercise their critical intelligence and
make decisions about their own governance. In the 21st century, free press is
the structure built on this foundation. No longer will atrocities be swept under
the carpet, because free press is the vacuum cleaner that will reveal the filth
of our society. No longer will atrocities be swept under the carpet because the
truth can be, and will be told.