Is freedom of the press a prerequisite for democracy?

Many developing nations struggling for democracy and good governance do not support freedom of the press. For instance, while democratic elections are being held in countries such as Pakistan, Nigeria and Russia, the media in these countries is often restricted or controlled by government censorship, begging the question: How democratic are they really?

Does free media equal good governance? Can an “honest” election occur without press freedom? Do the media play a role in good governance?

IJNet would like to hear your opinion. We invite you to answer these questions or add some of your own. Please identify your country if possible. Thanks for your participation.


Journalist are soldiers

As i use to say we should not be blind with the issue of press freedom isues and this for couple reason. As as an International Visitor Programm Attendant in US we made a tour in bloomberg headquaters and i asked them one think "With all this tools and skills that you have, where were you when the subprimes crisis comes"? the person sais we wee there we warn our readers and that was the only think that we could do.

This mean press freedom is not just serving democracy, but press it serves the people who are needind that democracy. Like I say,Journalist are soldiers. our job is to make sure that an accurate and fair information is provided to the people, so that they could have enough capabilities to choose their leaders

Are we sure in Democracy the press is free ? yes beacause anyone cn say whathe want, but are we sure that leadin media are free, i'm not sure Just look at this, Everyone knew that subprimes was a bad issues, but few financial news wrote about it.

After that, i'll like everybodu to look at this website Congrat!! to them they are neither Democrat, nor republicans they re just seeking the truth to be known. But are we people ready for the truth??? just think about it we are note part of good democracies, we are referees of that democracy and soldiers of the truth

Idriss Linge fro Cameroon/Africa


Absolutely agree that good governance equals free media. You named the countries like Pakistan, Nigeria and Russia, but I can add Azerbaijan to this list as well. Because after every election here, international experts, organizations call the elections "fair", but the working situation for us- journalists is worsen day by day, in my opinion. ex: in public protests, the police can very easily don't allow you to cross streets even you show your badge. Another problem, getting information from officials, or people afraid to tell their opinion on vox-pops if the story is tough enough. Unfortunately, It is very heartbreaking that, when journalists make reportages about social problems, the people's approach to the results without believe. They mostly think, "nothing will change!". Coming to elections, I think, non of the "honest" election cannot occur without free press. the example is my country, Azerbaijan. We have two "types" of media, pro governmental, which always dictates the governments' thoughts and oppositional which criticize the high officials. You cannot see balanced stories mostly in Azerbaijani media. You may even hear that, some of media organization are funded by "ministers or pro-governmental people", but they are calling themselves, private or independent. Unfortunately, non of the broadcast media are independent. I think the democracy starts with free media with professional journalists. because people get informations, which is necessary in democratic society from media.

Thanks, for questions.

As my question, I'd like journalists to share their work experience in this kind of situations.

Peace, Khanim.

Is freedom of the press a prerequisite for democracy? et al

Many developing nations struggling for democracy and good governance do not support freedom of the press. For instance, while democratic elections are being held in countries such as Pakistan, Nigeria and Russia, the media in these countries is often restricted or controlled by government censorship, begging the question: How democratic are they really? Its one thing to get a democratic system, which in itself varies from one country to another, depending on the peoples' orientation, yet it does not taken away the fact that they are in a democratic setting. However, this does not translate into free media most at times or good governance. In fact, in most democracies, especially in developing economies, the political class is afraid of free media because that would question their negative intents and even worsened by their ownership of media outfits. Equally, supposed press freedom does not guarantee honest election, but it helps in building transparency for those in leadership who want to play a clean card for posterity to judge. But ultimately what guarantees invariable press freedom is the ability of the citizens to take advantage of this 'press freedom' to air their views and judiciary to stand upright in the interpretation of associated laws. So, press freedom may not achieve much if mostly if the people are not in support of the contents of such a freedom charter. Of course, media play an enviable role in good governance, unfortunately media itself lacks such good governance within, which most at times centers on the ability of fund to manage or own a media, which is not farfetched when put side by side with the saying that “he who pays the piper, dictates the tunes.” I think really, the entire society needs re-orientation to chose on what is good and public good from what is personal and selfishness.

Is freedom of the press a prerequisite for democracy?

YES in capital letters because if you investigate it, you would come to agree that anywhere in the world there is no free press, you can hardly find democracy there and even where it do exist for a minute, its stagnant. Hence, democracy thrives where there is free press and that's the truth and we must not forget that democracy is about the people's voice which is aptly represented by the media as the voice of the people.

Media free

Media freedom relates to the capasity of the media to operate freely without any hindirance hence democracy.But is the media really operate freely.Comment

the press as the mirror

since the press serves as the mirror on world events, i think they should be given the freedom to operate in order to be independence of govt interference and also to be able to give the world what it needes. and above all national development should be our watchword and not whether a press is dependent or not. Comfort Oluwole from

Free Press, yes.

I do believe that freedom of the press is the critical to the conduct of credible election.Nigerria has a fairly free press and this has impacted on the realisation of substiantially credible elections in the country.

I do not think

I do not think so,that free media do equal good governance. Free media sometimes could be abundant in publish something It is needed an indicator about free media it self that measure what we call “ free media “. But I agree that “ honest “ elections can occur with press freedom support and without government controll. Media play a role very significant in support good governance (I am sorry for my English)

Herman Lengam Radio Berita Matoa FM Manokwari - Papua Barat 98312 Indonesia

Freedom of Spee

Freedom of Speech is absolutely necessary in a democratic state. If the government is against free press its usually because they have something to hide or are afraid of what the public will believe when given another opinion or objective to what is going on in that country. As far as for elections , it is vital that the press is allowed to distribute the news freely in order to give the general public an idea of what is going on with all candidates whether it is negative or positive. As long as we the people are being reported the facts that is all that matters, we will be the ones to decide what to derive from it.

Freedom is a ba

Freedom is a basic requisite for democracy. If the media is not free the type of democracy in existence is then not genuine. However, it is incumbent on journalists too to exercise this freedom with some restraints because it is given with responsibility and if they don't execise this sense of responsibilty democracy would be endangered. The summary of it all is that no freedom is total;it must be accompanied with responsibility.

Olayinka Oyegbile, Lagos, Nigeria.

I have always b

I have always believe that freeedom of the press has always been part of the catalyst that brought about good governance in most of the developed democracy in the world. But unfurtulately that has not been the case in Africa , especially in those coutry that had once witnessed the incursion of military rule. But here in my country Nigeria , despite our strong intellectuall capacity and contribution to world politics the press freedom is still being negnect and monopolised by the goverment. Most journalist in the country are poorly paid, and the issue of brown envelope seducing them away from true investigating journalism. Our selected representatives have over the years failed to comprehend the importance of a free press, part of the reason why the much agitated information bill in our two legislative chambers have been turned more into a controversial issue. I believe that press freedom and a true democracy are two of the unfourtulate factors that has continue to militate against the proper development of our country economically, politically and socially. And this I want to say is not restricted to my country alone, but in almost all part of Africa and the so called developed nations where journalist are constantly under threat , just for expressing the reality of what is on ground, not what the politicians want the people to believe. Until when the issue of proper pay package, adequate training and the right to freedom of the press, most of the countries in Africa , would ever remain backward in this new age of globalization and information technology and true democracy will continue to elude us.

Its true that d

Its true that democracy has been in existence long before the press, yet.the truth remains that for true democracy to prevail people need to what is really happening around them. Now, if politicians believe there is nothing to hide then why do they have such strong reins on the activities of journalists. The Nigerian experience is a good case study. As journalists you are expected to show case all the 'good' deeds of the government and hype the 'dividends' of democracy. But in reality the Nigerian masses are yet to see these devidends. All the government achievements we hear about on radio and television are no where to be seen in real life. so you ask yourself who is fooling the other? The government who claims to have done so many things for the Nigerian populace when there are absolutely nothing on ground? Or Nigerians who have suddenly turned blind and can not just see anything whatsoever because non of these things actually exist. The media reports properganda and the average journalist is aware of this fact, but what can we do? You can't produce programmes that trully give the people a voice, yet we are in democracy. Yet there is suppose to be freedom of expression. Yet majority of Nigerians can not express themselves as they ought to and even when they do their opinions do not count for much. it has no power to influence government decisions. Yet we say we are in the era of democracy, an era of 'government for the people by the people'. its a huge contrast, an irony. A far cry from the promises of democracy. so to the question, is freedom of the press a prerequisite for democracy? my answer is yes! The level of freedom the press excercises in a nation to a large extent determines what extent that country actually practices democracy.

From Kaduna, Nigeria.

Politicians kno

Politicians know the important role the media play but they usually want the media to report positively about them even when they have blundered. The moment their half-truths are exposed they brand the media "irresponsible".

But the fact will remain that without free press there can never be good governance or free and fair elections. Politicians can rig the elections but let the press freely report it based on facts.

Before the pres

Before the press ever existed democracy had been there. Whether the press stops existing democracy will always be there. I think the question should be; do the press enhance Democracy? In this light, i think the press are tools of illuminating democracy. Regards Delphine

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