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Press freedom, politicians and President Trump's ''Fake News'' gongs

Often, management of national life is a running battle between politicians and journalists

American president, Donald Trump, recently announced what he called ''Fake News Awards.''  The award winners, according to the president, were CNN, New York Times, ABC News, Time Magazine, Washington Post and Newsweek.

Shortly after the announcement, some discerning senior members of the Republican Party who probably realised the futility of an American leader taking on America's major news organisations joined the fray.
To start with, these people know that the president might as well be warming up for a fight that he could never win.  Perhaps, they forgot to counsel the president to find out about what happened to former president, Richard Nixon.

Anyhow, these senior Republicans blasted their own president and launched a fierce defence of Press freedom.

In all honesty, it was not impossible that some representatives of these news organisations might have gone over the top in the way they presented some news about the Administration.  Hence, it was understandable why the president was sometimes upset at the way he was being portrayed.

Nevertheless, writers especially journalists have a responsibility to inform the public about happenings in government.

As the fourth estate of the realm, the Press often articulates to the people what the roles of the different arms of government are.  These different arms or branches of government are the Judiciary, the Legislature and the Executive as enshrined in the Constitution.

On the other hand, those in government, especially the Executive arm, have sometimes been known to go beyond their remit.  It is common knowledge that these government functionaries may not always want to be challenged or corrected despite glaring excesses.  It is not always that these officials want the people to know the exact nature of what is going on.  It is hardly surprising then that politicians and journalists may not always be the best of friends.  Ultimately, this could mean that there are times when the management of national life becomes a running battle between politicians and journalists.

Without writers and journalists, anything can happen in the nation.  Dictatorships often rise and flourish in the absence of free Press.  When the literary light of the nation, that is, free Press is suppressed what follows is the ascendancy of darkness.  It is not an accident that the least developed societies and nations in the world are also the ones where the Press is shackled.  In the absence of free Press, development is arrested as there are no longer checks and balances.

Western civilisation owes much to the Renaissance and the Reformation both of which were anchored on literature and the freedom of expression.

Therefore, despite faults, fallouts, excesses and the almost continuous tension, politics and the Press need each other.  One way or the other, the relationship between the two will always need to be astutely managed for the benefit of society and the nation.

The recent car bomb killing of Maltese journalist and blogger, Daphne Caruana Galizia, is a testimony to the tension and fallouts that often rage between politicians and writers.  The murdered journalist dared to highlight cases of corruption in government but some people were not comfortable with this.


This post first appeared on BEULALANDBLOG, please read the originial post: here

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Press freedom, politicians and President Trump's ''Fake News'' gongs


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