People have the innate desire for information. Each person in the world seeks for answers to life’s questions every day and information about everything they see. Because of the drive caused by curiosity, news agencies emerged in the workforce.
However, there has been a continuing disregard for the freedom to acquire information and to deliver such. Therefore, these entities strive hard to emphasize the importance of press freedom.
Press freedom is one of the rights listed in the United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It secures the liberty of a person to exercise their rights no matter where they are.
Under Article 19, it states that every person has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The right includes seeking, receiving, or imparting information through the use of different media.
In consonance to the provision, the Constitution of different countries provides freedom of expression in their Bill of Rights. Therefore, reiterating the privilege in the law stresses the right even more.
However, journalists experience hatred and harassment because of their profession. It often led to reporters getting killed and media companies getting blocked from doing coverages of controversial events. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) tallied 1,306 journalists killed between 1998 and 2018.
To address the issue, UNESCO adopted Resolution 29 on November 12, 1997. It condemns the widespread killings against journalists and calls it a “crime against society.” The courts also denounce censorship towards the media because it curtails the right given to them by the Constitution.
In the landmark case of New York City v. Sullivan, the US Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protects press freedom. It also said that the free and open debate regarding the conduct of public officials is more important than honest, factual errors which might damage their reputations.
Al Jazeera, a Doha-based state-funded media company, also stands with press freedom. It launched the Demand Press Freedom Campaign which is now on its second phase.
Following the threat to shut down the agency after the GCC crisis, they initiated the movement to denounce similar situations happening to journalists across the world.
Demand Press Freedom also received several recognitions from the New York Festivals, the AME Committee, and One Show Awards. The media outlet’s English channel also received “Broadcaster of the Year” in the 2018 New York Festivals.