Daily Mercury journalists, back from left, Zizi Averill, Loris Wall, Melanie Plane (deputy editor), Rae Wilson (editor), Janessa Ekert, Rainee Shepperson and front from left, Melanie Whiting, Kate Rasmussen, Angela Seng and Kirili Lamb.
Daily Mercury journalists, back from left, Zizi Averill, Loris Wall, Melanie Plane (deputy editor), Rae Wilson (editor), Janessa Ekert, Rainee Shepperson and front from left, Melanie Whiting, Kate Rasmussen, Angela Seng and Kirili Lamb.

World owes much to press freedom

Press freedom vital

IT IS essential to respect and value the freedom of the press. The fourth estate has become the voice of ordinary people since its humble beginning when the desires and needs of the people weren't being heard under the feudal systems.

Communication is a vital part of life, in many forms, and the first item despots and dictators demand is control of the press … so the words of the tyrants are the only accepted form of speech, thinking and way of existence.

Hitler had it, Stalin had Pravda, Chairman Mao had The Little Red Book, all ensuring control of the people and their freedom.

Yet, despite those draconian methods, there were brave people writing and telling different versions of those stories even though it ensured death if caught.

Technology has brought wider means of communication, not all of which is good, nor does it emanate from reliable sources, nor is it issued by objective people.

Yes, the media does get things wrong at times but the truth still emerges. If something is deliberately hidden it raises suspicion even if all is open and truthful and we do need to know.

Journalists are often obliged to enter unsafe places, meeting with unsavoury characters to obtain another view to a story, which the general public may need to know but hasn't heard.

Their sources of information may need to be suppressed for their own safety. The present world has much to thank the freedom of the press for, so don't let it become victimised by petty bureaucracy.

Patricia Russell, Mackay