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Why News Media Should be Independent of Government

With international governments that orchestrate questionable and oft-underhanded decisions and deals, that include gladiatorial mudslinging and verbal bare-knuckle wrestling amongst their leaders, that sometimes work to silence and marginalize outside voices of dissidence, that procure hollow promises and heavy threats, and that engender the need for vigilante organizations akin to WikiLeaks or the ill-defined “Anonymous” hacking clan, it is no wonder that the collective global society has grown to foster suspicion (in lieu of trust) for those with substantial political power. Slinging around words like “autocratic”, ”authoritarian”, and “oligarchic”, it seems as though several governmental bodies have become socially condemned (tyrannical rule in China has come under fire from political “radicals”; the censorship culture in North Korea has been routinely criticized by foreign groups, like “Reporters Without Borders”), and they have seemingly matured to work against, and not for, “the people”.

For that reason, many individuals have come to be in need of a force that is on their side, and that is not tainted by or that shares the same aspirations as corrupted and shady political heads. This force has come in the form of news media.

Meant to be different creatures that are distant and on the fringe of the political sphere, news media are cast to play sundry roles that make them the sine qua non for any society. As “The Guardian” editor Alan Rusbridger mentions in his archived piece “The Importance of a Free Press”, news media are as vital to society “as a clean water supply or a fire service”. What makes news media so vital is that they strive to attribute a sense transparency to all of society's governments. By providing wholly factual, impartial, and unfiltered data of what is going on in our own backyards, creating a tradition of exchanging information freely, lending voices to the initially muffled, being an impetus for mobilization and revolution, and by allowing for the right questions to be asked and for the most necessary debates to be held, news media serve as the citizenry’s tool (and at certain times, weapon) for staying informed and for keeping governments in check. News media aim, from afar, to bring necessary honesty, validity, trustworthiness, and aid without elements of vested interests or ulterior motives.

However, once news media cease to be truth-seeking outsiders looking in and are caught in the influential maw of government, a perilous place is reached and the intent of news media is diminished. With some governments in the business of obtaining the most votes, creating like-minded, sheltered monoliths, and winning absolute and total power, news media can be utilized to deliver sugarcoated, de-brutalized, misconstrued, alternative, and even sifted versions of the truth (for example, Germany circa the Second World War used news media to spread harmful, Nazi messages). For this reason, it is imperative that news media is independent of government. To continue benefitting the global public (and to not be negatively influenced by sometimes misguided and self-helping governmental groups), news media should continue to be distant.

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IamtheshyStargirl said...
May 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm
Very good, I think this is incredibly well-written and clear on the whole. Thanks for sharing this! 
AmirioF360 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 10, 2012 at 8:31 pm
Thanks so much! :)
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