Aug 5, 2009, 2:15 AM
One of the central issues to consider for the advancement of public reasoning in the world today is a well-functioning, free and independent press.
An unrestrained and healthy media is important for several reasons.
The first and perhaps the most elementary connection is the direct contribution of free speech in general, and of press freedom, in particular to the quality of our lives.
We have reasons to communicate with each other and to better understand one another, which is virtually impossible without freedom of information and the press.
Media freedom is critically important for us to survive the throes of the time as one cannot live in the absence of media.
The absence of a free media and the suppression of people's ability to communicate with each other can badly impact on our lives, and thus reduce the quality of human life.
The press also has a major informational role in disseminating knowledge and allowing critical scrutiny.
The informational function of the press relates not only to specialised reporting. For example, on scientific advances or on cultural innovations, but also to keep people informed about developments.
Furthermore, investigative journalism can unearth information that can help government in their day-to-day activities, without which some useful things would go unnoticed or even unknown to the public.
Media freedom has an important protective function in giving voice to the neglected and the disadvantaged, which can greatly contribute to human security.
It is therefore not hard to see why a free, independent and efficient media can facilitate the needed discursive process.
The media is important not only for democracy but for the dispensation of justice.
"The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything. Except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands."