Freedom Through The Press

Freedom Through The Press

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Freedom Through The Press


Tears streamed down a broken face
That stared to the ground where his father lay
At lexington was he dying this day
For a battle lost, and a war begun.

In a young boys hand, A father lifted his head
To look at a son, so confused and afraid
Who understood not, for what his father bled
Why he would fight, What reason for death.

And so as they looked eye to eye
The boys innocent lips formed the question, why?
Then With inhuman strength, A father lifts dying fingers to sky
Pointing to a cloth, flying on high
His heart burns like fire, beats like a drum
As with his last breath he whispers
FREEDOM!

56 men signed a Declaration of Independence, risking their lives. 1000's of men
and boys died in the Revolutionary war, And 100's of 1000's more fought and died
in wars to come. 56 men created and signed a document of government so perfect
it has endured the test of time for over 200 years. Millions of people have
given precious support in the fight for equality and against racism. For
what reason did many people risk their lives and sacrifice so much? democracy:
n. gov. by the people... Their hearts burned brightly with the fires of freedom.

     We have been handed a Democracy, handed freedom. And now we must either
throw this heritage away, by taking it for granted or we must fight our own
battle, a battle without bullets or threats, a battle for democracy. For
Freedom isn't Free. We must rule ourselves. It is an almost an obvious fact
that in order for us to rule, we need information. If the ruling body does not
have information than it can do nothing but act blindly, without direction.
This information comes from the media but, in order for the media accomplish
this informative purpose, so that we the people can rule ourselves, can have a
democracy, and can be free, we must do three things: Redefine democracy, Listen
to the press, and control our press. Our first problem is to redefine democracy.
     Imagine, a young polish factory worker reads daily in papers that tell
him he is free, because the communistic government allows elections. The Press
tells him his government has the economy under control. Yet he finds himself
spending his time and money standing in line to buy over-priced bread so his
babies can live another day. Among the graffiti that began to appear in Poland
was an especially significant complaint, Prasa klamie ("The press lies").
     However, free media from countries like the U.

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S. filtered to the Polish
people revealing the truth about their economy. Once the people heard the truth,
they gained power and this lead to the elections of 1989, their first non
communist Prime Minister in years. Knowledge is power. A free press is still
necessary to a democracy even when free elections occur. And having a free
media will lead to a more democratic form of gov.
Countries get away with being called democracies when, by definition
they are not. We must redefine democracy as the Freedom of the press, not the
voting in elections.
     In the situation of Poland as in countless others, power can be linked
directly to information.
     In early America, whites kept power over their black slaves by
forbidding them to learn to read. they held the information and thus the power.
     In the U.S. we have the information, but to hold it, we must grasp it.
     Our second problem is hearing the press
     In the mid 1980's a young journalist in his twenties got the job of his
dreams when Time magazine assigned him to cover the Middle East. A month later
his feedback of information stopped and there was silence. Frantic officials
followed this trail of silence. It led to Islamic terrorists who bragged they
had kidnapped an "American spy." for a year, this young journalist's right
hand and foot were chained to a radiator. He was starved and violently beaten
many times without purpose. When his release was finally negotiated, he came
back to the United States and had enough strength to report on his year in
captivity.
     At times the information being casually read by American citizens over
the breakfast table is information sealed by a reporter's blood. That is his
part in a free press government. All that is needed now, is that we do ours,
read it!
     Without information a populace cannot rule. And if a populace cannot
rule, then, by definition there is no democracy. We are so proud in United
States for being a democracy. But, if we do not stay informed, then by
definition we are not . We must grasp the information to hold the power.
     I am not, however saying that we should blindly and undoubtingly follow
the information of the press, for we have an extra challenge.
     Our third problem controlling the press.
     U.C.L.A. sociologist James Q. Wilson points out the curious fact that on
city streets where broken windows go unrepared, crime rate soars. Why? the
windows make an announcement: Here standards have been broken down, here no
authority applies; Come and do what you like without consequences. Today,
media has become a gigantic broken window to the world. Portrayal of life
without consequences sends the message that chaos reigns. A common claim of the
media is that they just show real-life. Really? Around 350 characters appear on
prime time, studies show an average of 7 of these are murdered each night. If
this rate applied in reality, then in just around 50 days everyone in the entire
U.S. would be killed. And the last one left could shut off the T.V. Ralph
Nader states that "The media has 2 purposes, to inform, and to entertain, and
though the informing part is good, the entertaining part will often focus on the
horrid and the vulgar. Perhaps a free media does not always do what we
bargained for. Perhaps the media doesn't always mirror life. Perhaps life
might also mirror the media.
     So, what do we do? Thomas Jefferson, too, wondered about the free
media: "I deplore, the putrid state into which the press has passed, and the
vulgar spirit of those who write them." Could we not put strong government
controls on the media to reduce such vulgarity? In answer, Thomas Jefferson
gives us another more simple truth: "Our Liberty depends on freedom of the press,
that cannot be limited without being lost." Disturbing elements will never
entirely disappear from the media-nor should they-but we must continue to speak
out against the wrong, and advocate the good. Also, the press prints what
people read. We cannot simply tell the media we think this isn't right, we must
show them through what we read. And in the future we may even have a chance to
enjoy a media as fundamentally decent as the people who live in this great
country.
     In summation, we must first redefine democracy as NOT the freedom to
vote, but actually, freedom through the press. Secondly, we must listen and
become informed of our media. And Third, we must control or censor the press
through what we read. And for what reason must these things burn like fire in
our hearts?

Democracy: n. Freedom.

     Those who have died in the struggle for free media do not die in vain.
They die a hero's death in the struggle for democracy.

Then With inhuman strength, A father lifts dying fingers to sky
Pointing to a cloth, flying on high
His heart burns like fire, beats like a drum
As with his last breath he whispers
FREEDOM!
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