Do you know what press freedom is? And more: do you know the importance of press freedom for the democratic regime? Today is the Brazilian National Press Freedom Day and last month (May 3) the date was celebrated worldwide. This Monday, therefore, is quite opportune to reflect on the matter.
Freedom of the press is at the heart of a free and democratic society. And for this freedom to actually exist, there can be no State interference or any form of censorship. It is from the freedom of the press that we establish a free environment so that opinions and ideologies can be expressed and, at the same time, opposed. And it is in this environment, without censorship or fear, that we see the birth of critical thinking.
Unfortunately, in this sense, there is not much to celebrate here. According to a report by the Brazilian National Federation of Journalists (Fenaj), compared to 2019, attacks on journalists increased by 105.7% in 2020. In addition, in 2021, Brazil entered the red list of press freedom for the first time, according to a survey by the NGO Reporters without Borders (RSF), ranking 111th among 180 countries evaluated.
Historically, press freedom is repressed in dictatorial regimes. And, even though we have a democratic regime, press freedom is constantly threatened by veiled censorship and attacks on the exercise of journalism.
Fighting for press freedom is, therefore, fighting for democracy, for the right to information and for a commitment to the news and to the facts, in an ethical way and attentive to the truth. Preserving press freedom is an exercise in citizenship and is undoubtedly a duty of all of us, journalists or not.