Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Freedom of the Press
In the last two weekends we've viewed Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House, followed by a re-viewing of that 1976 classic All The President's Men, and then rounded off by a trip to the cinema on Sunday afternoon to see The Post.
The events depicted in all three of these films occurred when I was a little kid so of course I don't recall any of this political history in a personal way. However, the shadows of the Pentagon Papers and of Watergate are long and dark, so of course I knew something of each. It's so interesting to have these events put into context through film.
I couldn't help thinking about how relevant the core issues of democracy, freedom of the press and ethical standards are to our current times. Now more than ever I believe that we should read the news carefully and that we should be mindful of the source of that news. I still read newspapers (although I read them digitally) and I won't find my news anywhere else. I read blogs for lifestyle stories, not news, and I don't engage in Facebook at all. I subscribe to The New York Times and MrBP subscribes to The Globe and Mail (Canada's national newspaper) and it seems between the two of us we cover off the news for North America at least.
High quality newspaper reporting is not "fake news", the SPJ Code of Ethics is a real thing. For a government to undermine journalism by washing it away with the "fake news" brush is to attempt to control the information the people who elected them will access and interpret. I'm not trying to lecture on this subject (unless you're one of my Rascals and then I am lecturing you, get your digital NYT on the go kids) I just quite frankly find it frightening.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
-The First Amendment of the United States Constitution
Everyone has...the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.
-The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms