Free the press! It is a familiar refrain, one that grows louder year-on-year yet never loses relevancy. Why should a free press even be up for discussion? Are we failing to get the message across?
The simple answer is that the press equals power, and wherever power lies there are those who seek to control or influence it. By nature, a free press is untamed; capable of speaking unfiltered to public opinion, it has always been a vital conduit for free expression.
It has therefore been a constant target.
As we increasingly embrace our digital citizenship, the tyrants who oppose free speech are quickly learning how to act as digital oppressors. Targets are more numerous, attacks more complicated and diverse. Our awareness and vigilance must adjust with similar voracity.
Impunity for the killers of journalists extends also to those who murder bloggers. Censorship does not discriminate between editorial platforms. Prisons are built for those who “offend”, regardless of media.
It is impossible to prevent the oppressors of free speech from eroding our basic freedoms. And they do, as the press freedom indexes show, frequently and without heed for the consequences.