Many journalists live with abject poverty, but they work with dignity keeping their commitment up to the nation. Money could not buy their philosophy and principles. As a result, a few corrupt persons and leaders of our country and the world are angry/ annoyed with the journalists and media.
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it. I detest what you write but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write."
-Voltaire (French writer, 1694-1778).
Information is knowledge. Knowledge is power. Media educate people and make them knowledgeable through collecting and disseminating latest information. Media inform people and empower them both locally and globally. That is why media is called the source of power of the people of the world. People become the source of power of the states through getting the latest news through both print and electronic media. Media help the government knowing the problems of the country, their solutions, needs and demands of the people, how to establish democracy and good governance.
What is journalism? According to Wikipedia, journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information. It is also the product of these activities. Who is a journalist? A journalist is a person who collects, writes, or distributes news or other current information to the public. A journalist s work is called journalism. A journalist can work with general issues or specialize in certain issues. What is Media? Media is the collective communication outlets or tools used to store and deliver information or data. It is either associated with communication Media or the specialized mass Media communication businesses such as print Media and the press, photography, advertising, cinema, broadcasting, publishing and point of sale.
Above all, media bridge the gap between the people and the government. That is why both the government and the people must be friendly with media. Journalists are the source of power of the media. Their objective news empowers media/ press to play the role as the fourth state. Nobel Prize winner author and journalist Gabriel Garcia Marquez recognized that journalism is the best profession in the world.
Journalist Kavi Chongkittavorn of Thailand appropriately mentioned in an article that:
* Media supports all citizens rights to participate effectively in the government s decision-making processes;
* It increases the government s efficiency by allowing public scrutiny of government agencies;
* It reduces corruption by enhancing transparency;
* It weakens the long tradition of patron-client relationships that rely on connections and nepotism;
* It reduces the possibility of social conflict between citizen groups and government agencies;
* It empowers ordinary citizens, especially those in rural areas, because unlike the situation in the past, they will have access to information.
In our country Bangladesh, I know a good number of journalists collect news without food even for 24 hours for the sake of the nation. During disaster, war and conflict, journalists put their lives at risk, collect news and disseminate. Thus people become able to know what is going on where, when and why, who is behind the news and happening how?
World Press Freedom Day is held every year on May 03, declared by UNESCO in Windhoek, Namibia, in1991. The Day is to keep press freedom at the forefront of the global agenda. The objective of the Day is to establish a day dedicated to celebrating the fundamental principles of press freedom and to honouring journalists who have lost their lives in pursuit of their profession.
I receive many emails from many countries on world press freedom day. Most of the messages of those emails are on harassing, attacking, imprisonment and killing of male and female journalists in different countries. So I express solidarity with the demands of the journalists and people of those countries. Also I urge the heads of the states of the whole world to ensure security of the journalists. Provide them special security during war and conflict.
Mr. A.U.M. Fakhruddin, a noted journalist in Bangladesh wrote in his column, "James Augustus Hicky laid the foundation and parameters of journalism in India in 1780 through the columns of his weekly Bengal Gazette slamming the corruption of the British rules. About 145 years later no other person other than Rebel Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam-regarded as one of the great freedom fighters of India-made a strident march forward - as he emerged as the champion of absolutely fearless journalism - resolutely criticizing the oppressive British colonialism."
I believe objective news of any media helps the people of the world to survive, preventing war, establishing peace and human rights, strengthening global partnership, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Journalists are the citizens of the globe. That is why journalists of any country should have the rights and opportunities to collect information, and to disseminate accordingly. Also to visit any place of the world easily to enrich their knowledge and share information.
We learn from the history that peace and friendship go hand in hand. If we want peace, we must create peaceful minds and we must be really friendly to create more friendships. Since its inception, media has been playing the key role as a catalyst of peace and human rights in the world. Considering the discrimination and violence against women in our country and the world, media houses should appoint more female journalists. Women s access to media will make them an integral part of the global journalism to be empowered to build this modern world of 21st century friendly to the girls and women.
So the governments of all the countries including Bangladesh must ensure free flow of information, the right to information for all the people, and ensure freedom of media.