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The Freedom Of The Press

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The Freedom Of The Press

  1. 1. Freedom of the Press<br />
  2. 2. Brown ‘lied on TV’ about shoving aide<br />By many, a ‘free’ press is essential to our democratic freedom, with ‘free’ meaning the right of the press to print any story that it wants to. It is believed that it is in the interest of normal citizens to be informed about public figures and people in power. This article is an example of a story like this; one which safeguards the freedom of the press. <br /> It follows the accusations of Senior foreign policy advisor, Stewart Wood, who claimed that Gordon Brown spoke to him rudely and ‘shoved and barged past him.’ These accusations arose after author Andrew Rawnsley made the initial allegations of the Prime Minister’s bullying. <br /> I believe that this story preserves the freedom of the press, as the public have the right to know if the person we have elected as Prime Minister is abusing his position. If readers learn that Gordon Brown is treating his staff poorly, it is unlikely that they will want such a person in control of their country. In this way, the press can argue that the public have the right to be made aware of public figure’s actions, in order for a fair system of democracy to be upheld. <br />
  3. 3. Jade Goody's mum does coke<br />I believe that in this story, the popular press is taking advantage of its right to free speech by demonstrating an unnecessary intrusion into the privacy of Jackiey Budden. Her actions will have no impact on the public, and therefore, there is no reason for us to be made aware of them. She is only in the public eye as her daughter was a reality TV star; she has done nothing herself to merit being in the news – she is an ordinary person, and her actions will affect us in no way. It is unfair for her to be exploited on the anniversary of her daughter’s death – her grief could even be the reason behind her return to drugs. <br />
  4. 4. My View on The Freedom of the Press<br /> Although I believe that the freedom of the press must be respected, as it is definitely essential to a fair system of democracy, I believe that the press very often abuses the power it has, as it normally disregards the rules set in place to govern its freedom. For example, by law, the press is not allowed to employ the use of long-lens photography to obtain candid photographs of celebrities, but this is a common occurrence. As these laws do not come under scrutiny unless a particular story is taken to court, publications are normally free to ignore the rules. I do not think this is fair, as it is often too costly or risky on behalf of the individual, especially if the person is not in a position of power, to take a newspaper to court. This means that it is far too easy for people to be exploited in the press. For this reason, I think the press definitely abuse their freedom.<br />
  5. 5. ‘Gagging’ the press<br />Recently, there was a high profile case in which footballer John Terry took out a ‘gagging’ order against the News of the World, which temporarily prevented the paper from reporting a story about his personal life before the order was overturned. I think that, in some cases, individuals should definitely be able to prevent certain stories from going to press in this way, for example if the publishing of a story would affect the safety of an individual or their family. However, I think these laws, which are obviously necessary in cases which are dangerous to the safety of a person or defame a person with no reason or justification, can create huge problems and can sacrifice the right of the press to free speech. Individuals should not be given the power to conceal stories that it is in the public interest to be made aware of. For example, in 2006, the oil company Trafigura dumped hundreds of tonnes of toxic oil waste in densely populated areas of the Ivory Coast in West Africa. This resulted in many deaths, but the company was able to stifle the press for a long time. <br />

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