It is important for news media to be able to deliver the truth to the public in a timely and efficient manner
This year’s World Press Freedom Day comes in the middle of a pandemic which has taken hundreds of thousands of lives, shattered economies, and created widespread fear across the globe.
At worrying times such as this, the press has an essential role to play. In fact, more than in regular times, it is important for news media to be able to deliver the truth to the public in a timely and efficient manner.
The death count is changing second by second, and governments around the world, including ours, are grappling with policy, and it is of the greatest importance that the public be informed of these goings-on. It is, then, regrettable that so many journalists around the world are still finding themselves in the line of fire simply for doing their jobs.
Press freedom is far from a guarantee, and that does not bode well when it comes to the health of our democracy, and certainly not when it comes to fighting this unprecedented challenge.
People’s social media newsfeeds and Whatsapp inboxes are flooded with rumours and speculations, and so it is all the more important that accurate, reliable information is delivered minute-by-minute by trusted, reputable news sources. In that regard, journalists fall in the category of emergency workers, risking life, and limb to keep the world informed.
News media also provides a valuable public service at this time by disseminating information about the steps the public can take to protect themselves against Covid-19, or what to do if they exhibit symptoms. We are all in this together, and this is not the time to silence the voices that try to cut through the fog of confusion and fear, and deliver the much-needed clarity.