#Article (Archive)

Partners in Development

Jun 17, 2009, 6:34 AM

Thenews from the region about journalists being arrested, detained and sometimes charged on flimsy excuses is a cause for concern as it does not speak well of our governance system.

History has taught that government/private media relationship is often flawed for lack of trust. The media is more than a public relation institution, so any attempt to frustrate the work of the journalist can be inimical to development. Journalists have for long been seen as the enemies of the powers that be when this is not actually the case; we are only partners in development.

No doubt this has made the profession a fragile institution, needing the media as a watchdog in the face of an uncooperative government.

Journalists, however, has a 'sacred duty' to report the truth "no matter what or whose gut is cut".

Simply put, journalists are part and parcel of the democratic dispensation and their role is equally important as other segments, because of the significant role media play in raising the awareness of the public on sensitive issues affecting the life of all.

Information is not only deemed to be crucial to other sectors of the economy, but considered to be superior because of its transformative effects on them.

It is against this backdrop that Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human and Peoples Rights clearly stipulates the need for freedom of information.

We kept wondering why those who are parties to this protocol and other instruments, of which our governments are signatories to, kept violating the rights of the citizenry.

"As a general rule, the freedom of any people can be judged by the volume of their laughter".