Friday, December 10, 2004

media freedom

Radical thought it may sound, the truth is that media is either free or media is a falsity. Media, truth, fact — these words are spelled differently and are read differently as well. They are nevertheless substantially one and the same in their understanding and implication. But media must be free precisely in order to publish the truth openly, to herald the fact publicly.

Media is either free or not. There is no middle ground. But this is definitely not meant to say that media may be licentious, irresponsible, false. To be such is not the nature much less the defining qualities of media which is precisely for conscientious, accountable and true service to its reading public. Reason: Media’s only allegiance is to truth!

The “problem” with truth is that it ultimately shows itself one way, one time or another. That is why free media is a veritable treasure of society. It is free to publish the truth. It is not free to show, say or print falsehood. Otherwise, it is free no more, it renounces its own freedom. Reasons: It broke its allegiance to truth. It allowed itself to be used by falsehood. It negated its own intrinsic purpose in society.

Just as free media is the very first reality to go out, controlled media is likewise the very first actuality that comes in — from an emerging authoritarian not to mention becoming dictatorial form of government.

Truth knows no persons, no parties, no institutions — the Church and State both included. This is why media has both the right and the obligation to publish what is good or bad about them, what is virtuous or vicious in them — as long as it is true. This is the distinct service and precious contribution of media to society as the “fourth state”. It affirms people who are assets to the common good and exposes those who are liabilities to the common welfare.

It is dangerous to hide the truth. It is a big mistake to curtail rightful media freedom. It is costly to suppress media outlets.

2 August 2003