Free and Independent Media

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“Please make a pledge to support KQED public radio station.” The pledge drive unexpectedly disrupted my morning news feed about the DSK scandal. The interruptions annoyed me. However, it dawned on me that the urgency for public donations may well be the much-needed foundation to support the free and independent news media.
Free and independent networks tend to be objective in their news reporting and discussions. It prevents authorities or any interest groups from swaying the general public to their preferences. In countries like China and North Korea, the government censors the content of radio, television, and internet while propagandizing its ideology without tolerating dissenting views. The extreme form of it sometimes leads to brutal repression of opposing perspectives such as the Tiananmen Massacre or individual worship. On the other hand, if stations like KQED procure its funding from public donations, the government will have minimal influence on the reporting. The news stories are prone to offer precise, objective facts and opinions to enable people to make well-informed choices.
Another pivotal feature of a free and independent news media lies in its powerful function of supervising and monitoring government activities. This protects and promotes a true democracy, serving as a watchdog of the government actions and other powerful entities. In the Watergate Scandal, the network exposed the corrupt deeds by the Nixon Administration, which finally led to the fall of his rule. Without the independent news media, Toyota’s attempt to cover up its defective vehicles would have never come to light. The individual voice reveals the truth beyond the propaganda or whitewash by authorities and interest groups. It also promotes transparency of the government, holding those in charge responsible for their actions. Consequently, people play a crucial role in the news media and the democratic process.
This type of news media also encourages freedom of press as stated in the Constitution. Recognizing the importance of independent exchange and flow of ideas, our founding fathers cemented the freedom of speech as one of the pillars of our nation’s Constitution.
The free and independent news media such as KQED public radio promote a more viable and instrumental democracy. Now, I realize that not just the few produce the programs, let alone the government, but rather, you and me.





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