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Дилсора Фозилова
Dilsora Fozilova





7/29/2008 11:01:32 AM
Journalism Is One Of The Significant Pillars Of Democracy

In the words of Abraham Lincoln, democracy is government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” By this definition, democracy is founded on the informed participation of its citizens. In order for democracy to function well, its citizens must be informed; informed of public policy, informed of the positions of various political leaders, and informed of the various sides of issues being publicly debated. This raises the question: How then, do the citizens of a democracy, become informed? In my view, this is one of the fundamental roles of the media in a democracy. From this perspective, journalism can be viewed as a pillar of democracy, for without an informed citizenry, democracy will surely falter, and perhaps even fall.

Journalists around the world often write about the governments in their nations, and those governments have policies towards journalists, which control what they can research and write, and what press organizations can publish. Many Western governments guarantee the freedom of the press, and do relatively little to restrict press rights and freedoms, while other nations severely restrict what journalists can research and/or publish. This clearly illustrates one of the critical distinctions between democracies and dictatorships.

This is why it is fundamental that in a democracy, there is a “free press.” The press must be free; free to criticize the government, free to publish views that are contrary to the positions of those in power, and free to inform the citizens in the democracy of the positions of those in power and those who wish to be. If the government controls the press, and journalists are not free to inquire about the activities of those in power – and publish the results of their inquiries – then we cannot have a true democracy.

Thus, it is critical that those who call themselves “journalists” understand their role in a democracy, and hold themselves up to the very highest standards of journalistic principles in their inquires and in their writing. These include such attributes as thoroughness. Good journalists do not take short cuts. They keep “digging” until they have all of the essential aspects of a story. This can prove difficult, especially considering the often conflicting pressures of tight timelines and the desire to be thorough. Accuracy is another fundamental principle of good journalism. A good journalist does not print hearsay; invalidated information, or quotes out of context in a way that the original meaning is deliberately misconstrued. Good journalists are also fair. They work hard at showing not only both sides of an issue, but at showing the multiple sides of complex issues. Unlike television news, which is limited by its need to provide visual images and short sound bites – the print media offers the opportunity of going more in depth and detail in its reporting of complex issues. High quality journalism also strives to be transparent. Sources are named where appropriate and possible, motives behind both the reporting of the story and those being reported on are made as clear as possible for the readers.

If qualities such as thoroughness, accuracy, fairness and transparency are the qualities of good journalism, then it follows that these are also the attributes that one would find in good journalists. For someone to report the events of the day to others, to act in a sense as an interpreter for their readers, is a significant responsibility, one not to be taken lightly. In addition to the qualities mentioned above, I would also add that I think good journalists need to have a great deal of stamina, energy, patience, and no small measure of courage in order to do their work well.