The Quest for Truth Must Continue

The Quest for Truth Must Continue

The media, or the Fourth Estate, is in the “business” of truth telling. This very nature of the media renders it as both a corrective to power and a mirror to society. Naturally then, the role and function of the media in a given society is paramount. Consider power first. Power has a tendency to corrupt and get corrupted even in a given democracy. If, by democracy, is meant the will of the people and its aggregation, who can keep this aggregated power in check? The media, of course. Similarly, no society is perfect. There are blemishes and imperfections in every society. The media, yet again, is the medium that throws these imperfections into relief and points out problems and issues that exist in a given society. But, contemporarily, and in this day and age, the media whose cardinal premise is responsible freedom of expression is under assault. This is paradoxical because generally it is believed that mankind over centuries has progressed and if progress means advancement in thought and thinking processes, then surely the assault on press freedoms is ironical as well as paradoxical. The assault on press freedoms is multi pronged and multi dimensional. It comes from both top down and bottoms up across the world. In terms of the former, governments across the world seek to squelch narrative or make it favorable to them. This is done by a range of means and measures. The bottom up challenge to press freedoms comes from fake and specious news that has been imparted verve and vigor by the advent and profusion of social media. Anybody can now become a newsmaker with the click of a mouse, so to speak. This development and practice carries obvious dangers which have been all too manifestly been witnessed, say for, instance, in the election of the US president, and so on. Another alarming development which blurs between the top down and the bottoms up domains is the issue of planted news, designed either to impugn, malign, favor or disfavor. Cumulatively, all these developments portend a dark and dangerous trend for press freedoms. These need to checked and reversed. On this World Press Freedom day, the pledge should be, against the backdrop of these insalubrious and negative developments and trends, to not only strengthen press freedoms but also to make these vigorous, dynamic sand more robust.