Editorial: Let Them Breathe

By Bakah Derick

Today, we are observing the International Day of Democracy. This is coming in the face of expanding government control and diminishing press freedom around us. It is imperative that we rise collectively and proclaim the urgent need to let the private press breathe. A robust, independent private press is the lifeblood of any democracy, serving as the voice of the people, exposing corruption, holding power accountable and providing public serviceinformation which those in power largely benefit from. Without freedom for private media outlets, we risk the erosion of democratic principles, the stifling of dissent, and the triumph of authoritarianism. 
Photo by European Journalism Observatory 

I can only remind us all that the private press has a sacred duty to uphold the truth, free from the shackles of state manipulation and censorship. It acts as a beacon of unbiased reporting, meticulously pursuing the facts, and shining light on hidden agendas. Letting the private press breathe ensures that the truths, both inconvenient and uncomfortable, see the light of day, enabling citizens to make informed choices and fostering a well-informed society.

In a democracy that we claim be in, power should never go unchecked, and the private press plays a crucial role as the guardian of accountability. It fearlessly questions authority, investigates corruption, and exposes the misuse of power. By holding those in positions of influence to account, the private press serves as a constant reminder that no one is above the law and that public servants must act in the best interests of the citizens they serve.

Do I need to inform anyone in this age and time that a free society is not complete without a private press that safeguards its freedoms? Whether it be freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, or freedom of expression, the private press acts as a bulwark against encroachment on these essential liberties. By amplifying diverse perspectives, ideas, and opinions, it fosters an environment where debate thrives and new ideas can flourish, enriching the democratic discourse for the betterment of society.

The private press is often at the forefront of advocating for social progress and change. It amplifies the voices of marginalized communities, exposes societal injustices, and demands accountability from those in power. By giving a voice to the voiceless, the private press acts as a catalyst for societal transformation, bringing about the necessary changes that lead to a more just, inclusive, and equitable society.

We cannot pretend not to be aware how costly it is to afford services of the state owned media. Those in need of media services especially for public relations, advocacy and sensitization can attest how affordable and use useful the private press is. Political parties have largely the private press to turn to to express their opinions on important national issues. 

The general claim to a responsible press is common yet no one is bold enough to tell you that their understanding of responsible press is working in their favour. Once it is not in their favour, it means the press is irresponsible. Let the Private Press Breathe. 

The air we breathe in a democracy should be that of freedom, transparency, and accountability. To ensure this as we celebrate this International Day of Democracy, we must staunchly defend the right of the private press to breathe, unencumbered by oppressive regimes, political interference, or corporate interests. Let us rise and stand firm, demanding an environment where the private press can defy falsehoods, expose the truth, and safeguard the bedrock of our democracy. A robust and unfettered private press is not a luxury; it is an essential pillar that sustains the very essence of democratic societies.

Let the private press breathe. Abeg wonna

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