In the News May 3
May 3 – World Press Freedom Day
Press Freedom and Governance Raises the Issue of Who Governs
UNESCO says: “Ensuring freedom for the media around the world is a priority. Independent, free and pluralistic media are central to good governance in democracies that are young and old.”
UNESCO says free media:
– can ensure transparency, accountability and the rule of law;
– promote participation in public and political discourse, and
– contribute to the fight against poverty.
The definition of the word abstraction (from the Latin abs, meaning away from) is the process of taking away or removing characteristics from something in order to reduce it to a set of essential characteristics. What the UN writes to describe free media, when taken in the context of the real world, means nothing. Thus, even as an abstraction, it is useless.
What, for instance, is a free media in real life terms? How does one define the word “free” in those countries such as Canada and the United States among many others, where people can exercise no control over the very same governments which call themselves democracies but whose decision-making power has been usurped by narrow private supranational interests which keep the people in thrall?
The UN website says, “An independent media sector draws its power from the community it serves and in return empowers that community to be full a partner in the democratic process.”
In Canada what is called the mainstream media is not independent so it does none of the above. The truly independent media is said to be fringe or extremist and dismissed as illegitimate, of no concern whatsoever.
The UN says, “Freedom of information and freedom of expression are the founding principles for open and informed debate. New technology will continue to evolve and allow citizens to further shape their media environments as well as access a plurality of sources. The combination of access to information and citizen participation in media can only contribute to an increased sense of ownership and empowerment.”
Again this may be “true” but, then again, when speaking of the state of media today in countries such as Canada, it is precisely truth which is the victim. This is why addressing who defines what constitutes free media, freedom of the press, expression and information and whose interests the definitions serve is a matter of great concern to the people.
Rights may be universal but they do not exist out of time and space. In fact, it is their reality within particular time and space which tells us what they are and the level societies have attained. Rights have to be affirmed. The working class and people and people from all sectors of the economy and fields of endeavour fight to affirm them as claims which they say belong to them by right. When those who have usurped power by force cannot prove to the society that they belong to them by right, then they resort to the use of force and coercion. This is a problem because Might does not make Right.
Today, the most important human right is the right to speak, express one’s views individually and collectively. This is what, in the name of press freedom, the governments of the U.S./NATO countries are suppressing on World Press Freedom Day by expressing high ideals which have no materiality. Far from it, these high ideals are designed to keep people disinformed and disempowered. It must not pass!
TML Daily, posted May 3, 2022.