Thursday, March 3, 2016

"For the people and by the people"

"To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."- Voltaire writer, historian, philosopher

          In the United States we pride ourselves on gun ownership, privacy and voter rights. When it comes to  free speech and freedom of the press, fundamental principles of democracy which our United States Constitution is based, Freedom House an independent watchdog organization  rates the United States  30th out of 197 countries.
       Freedom of the press or media is essential to keep Americans informed of events in our own country and around the world. What American citizens may not realize is that journalists and government officials often clash over our Bill of Rights. The First Amendment protects freedom of the press including, television, news papers, magazines and other media sources. The First Amendment allows the publication of truthful controversial information without interference from the government. Censorship of online material from independent journalists or bloggers is evolving as technology evolves. In a true democratic society as little censorship by government as possible should be demanded by its citizens.
         Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index rated the United States 46th out of all developed nations in 2014. Full details can be investigated at the link to their website

       In countries around the world such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Uganda (featured in the video clip above courtesy journalists are being jailed, tortured, mutilated and killed for reporting human rights abuses inflicted on them and their fellow citizens by military militias and corrupt dictatorships. These brutal attacks are being recorded as evidence but when reporters seek justice for these crimes where do they turn?  In a democracy for the people and by the people we need to demand that our elected officials truly understand our laws and protect our civil liberties but first we need to understand them ourselves.