The United States Constitution clearly states that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. It is one of the most treasured guarantees regarding the protection of journalists and the press. The U.S. media has written glorious chapters in the annals of history regarding keeping government authority in check by publishing information that reveals scandals in public and private life. That is why governments try to “maintain good rapport” with the media or, elsewhere, try to control them. The first thing that dictators do when they come to power is to impose censorship and forbid the publication of print media. They silence every voice seeking to check or criticize their deeds.
In general, the press performs a noble political and social service, which is why it is considered “the fourth estate” worldwide. The press informs the citizenry, updates them, helps them in their daily life, and educates them. Journalists are engaged in a very important profession. And for the most part, they do this responsibly and at personal cost.
However, the field is not bereft of opportunists, who contrive stories and violate the profession’s fundamental rules. There is no absence of blackmailers nor trashy, deplorable, sensationalist publications and channels that circulate inaccurate or fake news, damage reputations, or maliciously criticize people in public or private life.
They are the few exceptions. The overwhelming majority of the news media—at least here in the U.S.—carry out their momentous mission with objectivity, respect for the facts, and constructive criticism. Journalists are the finest friends and defenders of rights and civil liberties. They are honorable professionals. However, they often suffer unjust attacks at the hands of those who fear truth and transparency. Many of them die covering wars.
Still, there are also politicians who are far worse. They lie. They promise the world to voters just to win their vote. They are demagogues, thieves, and unscrupulous embezzlers of public funds, which they store up for themselves when they are in power.
Have you ever heard a similar accusation about a journalist? Have you ever heard about a politician being killed on the battlefield?
As humble servants of the journalism profession, we are proud of the choice we made. We are also proud of our colleagues who are unjustly slandered as “dishonest.”