Freedom of Press and Democracy
By Baloch Khan
“Freedom of press belongs to the people. It must be defended against encroachment or assault from any quarter, public and private. Journalists must constantly see that public business is conducted, they must be vigilant against all who should exploit press for self purpose,” said S.K. M Kaif.
Freedom of expression is one of fundamental and universal human right. Article 19 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan provides that freedom of expression is a fundamental right of every citizen, and; therefore, it impliedly guarantees freedom of press. Furthermore, a slightest glance over the world history would reveal that freedom press and expression has played a vital role in development of democratic societies across the world. This is what differentiates democracy from an autocratic rule. The concept of freedom of press emerged in the world with the development of printing press.
Freedom of press is very essential for free flow of information and success of democracy. Yet one wonders why again and again the violation of this human fundamental right relentlessly occurs around the world. There is no doubt unnecessary censorship on press violates the freedom of speech and freedom of press. Hence, media organizations and journalists are not able to enjoy this freedom. We cannot deny the services Tomas Jefferson, Benjamin Frank and Faiz Ahmed Faiz contributed for world freedom of press. International actors like United Nation (UN) and International Community for Protection for Journalists (ICPJ) have with stern covenants ensured press freedom, but still freedom of press in under severe threats. In 21 century of advancement, journalists are gravely under attacks. Hundreds of journalists have been killed worldwide; only in Pakistan since 2000 more than 95 journalists have been assassinated.
Today misuse of freedom of press and non-ethical use of journalism put the real spirit of the concept of freedom of expression in jeopardy, i.e. this freedom is being used for vested interests. The world civilized nations have ironically failed to present integrity to save the blessing from such unhealthy practices. The freedom of press and expression is sine qua non for grow so; let’s enjoy the freedom of press of democratic society.