Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Place of the press

Elections cannot and should not be the benchmark for success of democracy in a country. Although it is difficult to secure a free and independent press in a country transitioning from authoritarian and totalitarian rule to democracy, this end goal of rotation of power should not be the first and foremost goal or benchmark, rather maybe two or three.

Elections are meaningless without a free and independent press. Of course, through elections there can be some semblance of a rotation of power, but it does not signal that the People are able to check the government’s powers and eliminate representatives that are not doing their jobs adequately.

Just as capitalism needs fair and accurate information available to consumers, businesses and shareholders alike to allow for intelligent decisions to maximize competition and create vivacious and efficient markets, the Citizenry in a burgeoning and established democracy needs access to free, fair, accurate, and independent journalism to make smart choices and hold the government and politicians accountable. Without a free and independent press, elections are just faux facades of a free and democratic society.

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