Democracy is a fragile thing
FTLComm - Tisdale - Friday, January 16, 2009

Before Canada gained its right to self determination under the British North America Act of 1867 one basic principle was firmly established and that was the freedom of the press. Without a free and critical press, the public is deprived of the information necessary to carry out the decision making process and democracy collapses.

As George W. Bush serves out the last days of his term American people are relieved that an administration that often ignored the constitution and certainly the rights of the


people, is passing into history. But, they are setting themselves up for the same problem with the incoming president. The 'press' which includes all of the news business is responsible in a huge way for being the caretakers of democracy.

They need to poke their nose into public affairs and measure the fairness and legality of the government that has been elected and operates through the judicary. Criticism of government is essential to make the democratic system work. With the fear and anguish that


arose from the attack of September 11, 2001 the American news gathering system fell into line with whatever the government said falling completely for the "with us and against us" rhetoric of the reactionary George W. Bush. They failed, failed to the point of later some networks actually appologised for their gingoism and unquestioning acceptance of the Administration's line. The result of their failure was of course, not just the illegal war in Iraq, but the travesty of torture returning as a means of treating prisoners. Americans are considered world wide as


a primative, less than civilised people and the responsiblity for the country's loss of esteem, lies partly at the feet of NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, CNN and all of the country's newspapers.

There is no evidence that they have learned their lesson and if they carry on with the Obama administration in a similar manner, the further destruction of that society is a certainty. We in Canada have the same problem with the present government manipulating the press and getting away with it. Canada and the United States both need a free press, willing to be critical, condemn and dig into things to make sure that the citizens of their country are informed and not duped by deliberate campaigns to alter the perception of reality.

Timothy W. Shire

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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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