We Need Freedom of the Press, and Howe

Edmonton - Thursday, June 20, 2002 - by: Ron Thornton


We are proud of the fact we live in a democracy, where we get the opportunity to chose our leaders and where a free press is allowed to herald and interpret events. Unfortunately, others see things in a way that falls a little short of the ideal.




We seek Parliamentarians who are more independent of their political bosses, who vote on behalf of their constituents so that the will of the people might be represented. I'm sure the Prime Minister would agree if he wasn't so busy demanding letters of loyalty from his MP's and coercing members of his Cabinet to support his bid for a renewed mandate as leader of his party. Then again, we do live in a "Liberal" democracy.




We seek freedom of the press, believing that trust lies with having access to the truth. The truth was important enough to Joseph Howe when he criticized government officials in Nova Scotia, only to be charged with criminal libel. His victory in that 1835 case established the precedent that even the highest official in the land was not immune to published criticism or reproach.




Balanced reporting, looking at both sides of an issue, is the hallmark of journalistic integrity. To disallow criticism merely for partisan reasons, whether such censorship is enforced by the government itself or by powerful private citizens, would seem a betrayal. Real news reporting is subservient only to the truth. Anything else is just propaganda and spin doctoring.




Obviously not everyone can handle the truth, but I think most of us want to see responsible government made even more responsible by those entrusted with providing a balanced analysis of events.


Ron Thornton

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