“I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” Patrick Henry.
Growing up in the United States I never questioned my right or ability to hold opinions differing from those of my peers. I grew up prod to be a part of a nation where governments and people of power were not only held accountable to the people for whom they were appointed to protect. I was proud to belong to a nation where truth and accountability was ingrained within the fabrics of our nation. When the founders of this nation drafted The Constitution there were an endless number of issues they could have chosen to address first, what it is no small matter that among the top priorities they chose to underscore the importance and preservation of free speech and a free press.
In 1783, George Washington wrote, “if the freedom of speech may be taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the slaughter.”
Never have those words echoed so poignantly. Press freedom is not a luxury we can afford to loose, it is a right that must me protected and enforced in full force. An independent press ensures that citizens stay informed about the actions of their government, creating a forum for debate and the open exchange of ideas.
Journalist in America and around the world are under attack. “Fake news” is more than an insult — it hampers the journalist in their efforts to hold the powerful accountable to the people of the country.
The term “fake news” is one that is thrown around casually and cavalierly within our society and mainstream culture but it is most certainly not a joke.“Fake news” has become a shorthand for reporting that the government doesn’t agree with.