Media must be let free to do their work
What you need to know:
- The media are referred to as the Fourth Estate, the first three being the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive. It is the media that can provide objective checks and balances on the other three.
- Journalists are an indispensable part of any society. Even in history, there were scribes who kept records of the happenings.
- It is practically impossible for that mzee at the village shopping centre to engage in a meaningful discussion from a point of ignorance. His knowledge is from the media.
Journalism is one of the careers that make the world a better place, especially for those whose voice is suppressed by the wealthy and powerful.
Journalism exposes major discoveries and innovations. As a matter of fact, news is the first draft of history.
Journalists are, therefore, crucial in the cogs of life and global development. Journalists question things that are unclear and seek answers. We answer what many people question. We also expose the ills of society and provide the fibre to mend the broken pieces through opinion and analysis.
Journalists are an indispensable part of any society. Even in history, there were scribes who kept records of the happenings.
The future can only emphasise their presence, perhaps due to advancement in the technology of news gathering. The State knows very well the importance of journalists.
The media are referred to as the Fourth Estate, the first three being the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive.
It is the media that can provide objective checks and balances on the other three.
They set the agenda for society and have great influence. This makes the media to be like an arm of governance. No state can be said to govern democratically without the media — free media, that is.
It, therefore, is quite correct to say that both the media and the government serve the people.
The media are the voice of the people and the intermediary between the people and the government. They are the conscience of the people and help them to think.
How? It is practically impossible for that mzee at the village shopping centre to engage in a meaningful discussion from a point of ignorance. His knowledge is from the media.
Joseph Pulitzer in 1904 argued that the media have a disproportionately visible and influential role in fostering an environment where good governance can flourish. As a watchdog, agenda-setter of public discourse, and interpreter of public issues and events, the media have a special role in governance.
The main responsibility of the media, as is widely acknowledged, is to provide comprehensive, analytical, and factual news and opinions to the people on issues of concern.
Indeed, this is the critical link between the functioning of the media and good governance.
The media have the capacity to monitor the activities of the government and provide a forum for the public to express their concerns.
In fact, the nature and character of the media impact the governance process, for it is only when the media report, monitor, investigate, and criticise the administration’s policies and actions as well as inform and educate the citizens can good governance be enthroned.
The Security (Amendment) Bill 2014, specifically where the media have been targeted, is ill-informed and its timing is all wrong.
It seeks to choke the media and their noble duties and responsibilities and must be amended before it is ratified.
Lord Northcliffe in 1914 posited that “news is what someone, somewhere wants to suppress, everything else is just advertising.”
And the media refuse to merely advertise at the expense of the very public they owe a debt to provide factual information to.
The writer is a social media correspondent in Kenya. ([email protected])