No press no freedom

331
Courtesy of Gage Skidmore

Freedom of speech is defined as “the power and or right to express ones opinion without censorship, restraint or fear of legal penalty” and yet this most basic right is constantly obstructed by world governments. Even in the 21st century modern leaders of “democracies” are banning news outlets and making access to the truth ever more difficult to find and report.

Most obviously and recently Donald Trump banned the BBC, CNN, The New York Times and The Guardian among other news establishments from an off camera press briefing on the 24th February. While a White House Spokesman Stephanie Grisham claimed that this was the use of a pool (a smaller selection of press when deemed necessary), representative to all types of media outlets, it seems predictable of the Trump administration that the news outlets that were admitted were right wing establishments often having shown support for Trump. Among them was, of course, President Trump’s favourite news channel Fox News along with CBS, NBC and ABC. Even if these news outlets had been from different ends of the political spectrum, the fact remains that only those admitted to this meeting would have had access to the information, as these meetings are usually televised however this time it took place behind the closed door of White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer’s office, creating a harsh sense of secrecy and intimidation around free media.

It seems that this step towards censorship and creating a liberal media that has no choice but to gain their facts from an equally as biased conservative media is a step too far. America has founded itself, blatantly, on the premise of freedom and protection of its citizens and yet Trump once again advertises his hypocrisy by claiming that no press should be able to use an anonymous source. Without anonymity the people have to question what Trump wishes to do to those who speak out against his regime, how far will he go? Where does Trump draw the line between someone holding a different opinion and being “the enemy of the American people”? Does he see a difference at all? And when will the conservative press see the favouritism as immoral and dictatorial?

With all this in mind there is one small comfort to be found in the fact that American actions simply cannot go by unnoticed, the entire world is focusing on the actions of Donald Trump, waiting in anticipation for the next time rewinding policy. Unfortunately this does not apply to all countries. While the Western world accepts that China and Russia clearly have censored press it may be surprising that Australia has managed to keep their inhumane refugee islands, that has been considered teetering on the edge of ignoring basic human rights according to Amnesty international, as secretive as they have for years. The refugees that find themselves waiting for admission into Australia are immediately sent to the island of Manus or Nauru, places that are known for being nothing more than detention centres, here the refugees are treated like prisoners, with rudimentary health care and horrific treatment, often never actually being resettled somewhere in Australia.

Attempting to get press access to either of these detention islands is basically impossible. An application for a Visa to get onto these islands alone can cost up to £7,000 with no guarantee that you will be accepted, which no press will ever likely be. This alone shows the lengths that the Australian government is willing to go to, to keep their inhumane treatment of those most in need a secret. The one positive thing we can say about the Trump administration is that that are open about their policies, never claiming to be liberal. Whereas Australia has been allowed to slip under the radar with hundreds of men women and children being detained like common criminals because the Australian government does not wish to take care of them. Yet the world is so focused on the arrogance of the actions of leaders such as Donald Trump that the press and the world forget that other countries have been just as corrupt for much longer.

Even when the press is not admitted access to the information needed to create an honest and sincere report to the people they can actively support each other in reporting on their exclusion, allowing the world to see that the actions of these supposedly first world, 21st century governments is wrong, because the moment the press stops fighting for the truth is the moment that the world ceases to know the truth and as a result the people have lost their freedom of objective thought.