10 March 2011

Lack of Transparency: The Endangered Journalist

Russia is purported to be one of the deadliest countries for journalists.  This is a problem, least for the journalists who practice their profession inside this country.  The greatest problem is for Russians.

Former Russian Journalist, Now Safer in the North Pole

A free press is an essential pillar of a functioning democracy.  By reporting information, journalists arm citizens with the knowledge needed to guide the affairs of state through collective action (also known as voting, referenda , lobbying, etc.).  Journalists create transparency.  With transparency, individuals can make the best decision for themselves.  Through democratic action (and proper protection of minority rights), individuals create a stronger state - one that serves them and hopefully future generations for better outcomes than otherwise would be possible.

The problem with intimidating journalists that happen to report on the wrong topic (such as a new highway construction) is that it creates  a stinking funk of something that needs to be hidden.  If all was as it was supposed to be, no one would get beaten or killed. In other words, either a law or a long-standing social contract was being violated - and that violation needed to stay out of sight.

Laws may be unfair (I disagree with many US and California laws), but that unfairness should be open to public examination and subject to a process of public debate and change - if needed and as needed.  The lack of respect for the legal institution creates a two-tiered society, where one class is above the law and operates with impunity and the other who is subjected to the legal code on an ad hoc basis mainly for subjugation.  In the long term, this two-class system undermines the state and makes life worse for everyone.  Conversely, respect for law and the democratic process enhances the standing of the state and makes it a better and more favorable for everyone involved.

Russia is an incredible country with an enormous potential.  It it home to some of the best educated people on the planet with a deep culture of creativity and innovation.  It also is one of the richest country - if not the richest - on Earth, when measured by natural resources.

Broken Journalism, Broken Information Pipe

By allowing journalists to operate freely, Russian citizens can get a better picture of where their country is and where it is heading.  Armed with that information, Russians can make the best decision for themselves as to how they should forge their state in the twenty-first century and beyond.  Without the service of the journalists and the information they provide, the average Russian is subject to being robbed of his future, both literally and figuratively.

No comments:

Post a Comment