Freedom of speech is a fundamental human right which many countries protect as a key component of their democratic standards. There is no dispute over the need to guarantee freedom of expression. But what about the other side of the coin – responsibility for the views released into the public space? It is generally accepted that there is no right without responsibility.
However, there is less clarity on how responsibility should be applied, especially in a world dominated by social media largely available to everyone and with virtually no control and regulation. That is where journalism steps in. Journalism emerged as a means for delivering accurate and relevant information to as many individuals as possible so that opinions and decisions in society can be made by an informed citizen.
Until recently, journalism was an exclusive zone for professionals who in the vast majority of cases invested their education, expertise, and experience to seek, sift and deliver relevant and accurate information to the public. Then came the internet and social media, and while the freedom of speech exploded, but journalism eroded. Soon it became clear that virtually everyone can produce and disseminate any information, and citizens found themselves in a position to participate in the moulding and changing of the public opinion on virtually every topic. What had been a privilege of professional journalists for decades became accessible to everyone.
The human right of free speech seems to have reached its peak, but the responsibility has gone the opposite way. Journalists and the media are faced with the challenge of preserving integrity and protecting the important role of their profession in a democratic society. Accuracy is increasingly being compromised for speed. Winning readers and followers has become more relevant than what is being reported.
Interested in finding out more? Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org for a link to watch a webinar on Journalism given in 2022.