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Does your country have a free press?

11:16 UK time, Monday, 3 May 2010

Journalists across the world will highlight the importance of a free global media and the need for governments to uphold freedom of expression on World Press Freedom day on Monday. What does a free press mean to you?

To mark the occasion the BBC World Service is examining the risks faced reporters in some parts of the world. As part of this coverage, American journalist Roxana Saberi will give an interview about her imprisonment in Iran last year after being accused of spying.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists 583 journalists have been murdered worldwide since 1992.

Do you feel the media's freedom is restricted in your country? Are you a journalist who's experience censorship or intimidation? What should be done to protect reporters?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    <RICHPOST>Does your country have a free press? Absolutely not! <br><br>Just look at the way they are completely in the hands of the Conservative party during this election.<br><br>I’m sure that the Conservatives would not have half of the support that they have at the moment if it wasn’t for the Tory Press.<br><br>For the moment the Conservatives have a lead in the polls only because they have the press eating out of their hand.<br><br>Journalists in this country appear to be free to write what they want, but they are not free to disobey their Conservative paymasters.</RICHPOST>

  • Comment number 2.

    Pfft

    Journalists don't care about freedom of the press in other countries. That's why they love Islamic countries and hate Israel.

  • Comment number 3.

    Not 100% free because of out antiquated libel laws and such but compared to somewhere like China, Cuba or Burma they're certainly free. In fact, in some areas they're probably too free, hence why we have this hysterical scaremongering press that tells us we're going to die of [insert animal here] flu every damn year.

    Free enough not to make freedom of the press an issue in this coutry, lets put it like that.

  • Comment number 4.

    Perhaps we could have a moderation free feedback allowed day to show that this particular media outlet isn't censored.

    Too much to hope for I suspect.

  • Comment number 5.

    There can never been any such thing as a totally free press. We in the western world may perceive our press to be freer than others but how can we possibly tell?

  • Comment number 6.

    Is the press free? As exhibit A I give you: Rupert Murdoch.

    The problem we have in this country is that the press far too much freedom and influence, not too little. When the tax-dodging Dirty Digger is allowed carte blanche to set the political agenda through the pages of his squalid rags, you know that something has gone very, very wrong.

  • Comment number 7.

    Yes the media in the UK is definitely controlled/has an agenda - witness how the banks/mps are just yesterdays news.

  • Comment number 8.

    I think that the press in this country are subject to censorship.

    When S Ossetia was invaded by troops from Georgia in 2008, the spin by the Russian media and that of the UK were wildly different. According to UK press Russian airplanes were bombing Tbilisi. At the same time Russian TV was showing the people of Tbilisi out in the streets celebrating with their president.

    During the VE day celebrations, medals were awarded by a Russian delegation to surviving merchant seamen who served on North Atlantcic conveys. The ceremony took place on HMS Belfast, but this did not warrant a mention in the news.

  • Comment number 9.

    The UK's press has greater freedom than some countries, true.
    We should be happy about this.
    However, the UK's press is not truly free.
    I'm not talking about the ability to publish anything, anytime, as anyone sees fit. I refer to the exceptional bias that is found in the majority of the mainstream press.

    Events that make headlines for weeks in other countries are often completely left out of the 'world news' that we get to hear via our local press. Organisations that do not meet with the approval of the powers-that-be, or are not on some random list, are left out of the news, no matter how good the work they do may be.

    And so on.

    No, we're not living in a dictatorship - but it appears that many of our nation's reporters are.

    Of course, I'm posting this on a page that says "All posts are pre-moderated. What does this mean?". What, indeed?

  • Comment number 10.

    "Do you feel the media's freedom is restricted in your country?"

    In the UK's case. Definitely.

    The vast majority of the UK's press (National and regional) is owned by tax-dodging millionaires who churn out Conservative Party propaganda. The sensible and savvy people can see straight through this, but more gullible sections of society cannot. Its hardly a democracy when media barons are more influential in determining public policy rather than experts and scientists (e.g. Proff Nutt).

    I've always been a staunch supporter of the BBC, however, the silence regarding Phillipa Stroud is worrying. Gordon Brown calls ONE voter a 'bigoted woman' and the press go mental; Stroud insults several million voters (i.e gay community) and there's a press blackout from the BBC. If elected, Stroud will be a big player in determining public policy. SURELY it is in the public interest to investigate this woman further. I have and it ain't pretty.

  • Comment number 11.

    Well there certainly is no free speech on HYS. If I had a pound for every time my comments had been censored by the BBC I would be a rich man.

    We like to think that there is free speech in the UK - my experience is that the state pounces on you if you say what you think.

  • Comment number 12.

    There is no such thing as a "free press". The press is either manipulated by political masters or alternatively it is manipulated by private corporate owners. Which ever applies the bias of the press is slanted purely for the political or financial benefit of the manipulators, not to give a balanced impartial view of events.

  • Comment number 13.

    Where I live, all local public protests, economical breakdown, major crimes or anything negative rarely, but almost never make their way to the media, especially the local media. Once, a newspaper reported a major crime happened in my neighborhood, next day they published an article denying that fact, while I personally witnessed it. A journalist reported once about the rapid increase of medical mistakes victims in the country, next day same newspaper published a full page article about the growth and achievements of the government’s Ministry of Health!!

  • Comment number 14.

    I very much doubt it!
    Some,more than others, I suspect!
    The mind boggles ,when the Media comes forth with information ,kept secret by Governments and other 'closed Society's' and are consequently taken to task, by the offended and the enlightened! But then ,of course,the 'whistle blower'frequently has his (or her) own agenda.!
    A tricky subject.. But 'Free'. I think not! (Think
    H.S.A!)
    Cyclops

  • Comment number 15.

    In the US our freedom of the press is slowly being stripped from us as more and more media outlets are bought up by the same handful of corporations and the government agencies created to protect us from this sort of trust/monopoly building keep letting it happen. Soon, we'll be completely free to hear only what out corporate masters want us to hear.

  • Comment number 16.

    With our media it's all about selective stories. The media was dominated by Mrs Duffy, the alleged bigot, on a day when the Birmingham Council waste of paying dustmen £46,000 per annum was infinately more important.

  • Comment number 17.

    Does your country have a free press?
    There is no country, including democracies, that has a free press.
    What does a free press mean to me?
    Freedom of the press is freedom of communication through vehicles electronic or printed without governmental restriction or prior censorship.
    It’s my opinion that freedom of the press is like a grand old mountain that is now eroded down to the level of an anthill. I say anthill only because of the hustle and bustle to evade unpleasant truths and keep several spins going at once.
    Freedom House (a watchdog group funded by private and Western government) marked 2009 as the 8th straight year of deterioration of media freedom.
    Where does the interference come from?
    The owner of the medium.
    The editors of the medium who want to keep their jobs.
    The writers whose work passes to the editors who want to keep their jobs.
    I’d say more, but I don’t think that's necessary because what it’s come down to is this: If you chose to believe the first words you read, without validation from at least a couple of other sources, you will very likely end up with a biased slant that will seriously impede you ability to walk through life without leaning.

  • Comment number 18.

    Private broadcasters have always been bad news for freedom but the BBC used to be a beacon in the darkness.
    Sadly, no longer.
    The BBC is a modern British version of TASS, a government loudhailer and a mere shadow of it's former greatness.

    The rot started with maggie and finished with nu-labour as various party policy nonsense was trumpeted by the BBC.

    Modern examples of this are the-anti smoking debate...sorry debacle, and the junk science religion of global warming being given false credibility.

    The internet however, has replaced those who have fallen.

    As one TV drama put it
    "we're talking about the British.
    They aren't even allowed to read their own history for 50 years"

    You can fool some of the people all of the time...et al

  • Comment number 19.

    The only country which has ever had a truly free press was 1960s America.

    This resulted in Watergate, the end of Nixon.

    After watergate the press was put on a government leash.

  • Comment number 20.

    Despite all the issues in South Africa relating to crime and race relations, the press is still surprisingly free for a developing country. Majority of the news and opinion reported in broadsheets and online columns directly attack the ruling ANC party who had won the last election by a significant margin. Even popular local politicians like the out-spoken youth leader Julius Malema who wields much clout are not spared from getting ripped apart in the press. This is generally a good indication of how free the press is in a country. One can easily contrast this to Zimbabwe where quite the opposite is true!

    Of course, there has to be a line drawn somewhere about what can be broadcast and what can't. A national TV station (E-TV) broadcast a controversial interview with a self-confessed criminal (face blurred out of course) - he basically and quite literally announced to the world that he was looking forward to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa because it would be an ideal opportunity rob unsuspecting visitors. Naturally the TV station they declined to reveal the man's identity to the police much to the outrage of the South African public - but then, that is Freedom of the Press too is it not?

  • Comment number 21.

    Absolutely not. It is controlled by political parties and big business looking for profits and ratings more than the truth.

  • Comment number 22.

    No the concept of free speech does not exist. You have the PC movement that feels they must act as the filter for the exchange of ideas and thought.

  • Comment number 23.

    Does freedom of the press mean an individual reporter is allowed to report on and print whatever he/she wants? Of course not! Newspapers are businesses run for profit not public services. Each reporter has a boss who tells them what to report on etc., the editors have their bosses too.

    Freedom of the press means that the newspapers are free to run their businesses as they see fit and make the best decisions for their profit margins without interference from the govt. That we definitely have.

    The other? Unless all reporters are willing to work for free and pay for their own publishing it aint never gonna happen.

  • Comment number 24.

    No country has a truly free press - it's just that some countries have no free press at all, while some others are less regulated. In totalitarian countries it's completely controlled by the government; in "democracies" it's controlled by private owners with their own agendas, and who often have a cosy relationship with the government-du-jour.

    Living in the US before and after the Iraq invasion, I remember very well how all the media there were so very pro-war during the Bush years; and suddenly (and rightly) anti-war towards the end of Bush's tenure and the start of Obama's one.

    As for us in the UK - not really a free press. And if you're a taxpayer, nothing else is free either.

  • Comment number 25.

    Not in Britain, which is why fewer and fewer people waste their money on buying a paper these days.

  • Comment number 26.

    1, Not having papers owned by business men to bang the drum of their own agenda.

    2. Not having papers take a political stance. Only the BBC news seems to be a decent source of unbiased opinion and even then... you often detect that there is a sneaky bias underlying an article since it is written by an individual who is also a voter.

    I have strong political views but I would see little point in reading a paper that simply supported those views. There has to be balance and informed discussion, not merely drum-banging.

  • Comment number 27.

    2. At 12:02pm on 03 May 2010, Webb of Deceit wrote:

    "Pfft

    Journalists don't care about freedom of the press in other countries. That's why they love Islamic countries and hate Israel."


    Just like all the times when they criticized Israel for having nukes, but not Iran for trying to get some of it's own.

  • Comment number 28.

    Our press is so free that even on this site my views are censored!

    As long as you agree with the Labour Party you can be as free as you like in this country.......

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm all for a free press as long as they name sources. We saw in the De Menezes case how the press was used by police 'insiders' to spread lies about events in that case - lies such as him vaulting the barrier, the marksmen shouting a warning, saying he was an illegal immigrant, he was a genuine terrorist suspect etc. All of this came from un-named sources and the subsequent investigations could not find out who had spread these lies as an attempt at covering up a mistake. If the sources had to be named then either the disinformation would not have been put out, or if it was then the source(s) would have been held accountable in the inquiry.

    If the press had to name names they would not be so open to abuses such as this where anonymous sources can say what they like without any comeback on them. If you have something to say to the public then you should have the courage to put your name next to your words.

  • Comment number 31.

    pzero wrote: Our press is so free that even on this site my views are censored!

    As long as you agree with the Labour Party you can be as free as you like in this country.......

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    I guess that's why your comment was censored??

    The UK has one of the freest presses in the world, all you people companioning should try North Korea or Iran if you don't like it.

  • Comment number 32.

    By the very definition of India being a democracy, there is freedom of expression albeit theoretically. There are no doubt some very good investigative journalists but they can be counted on your finger-tips. The Right To Information (RTI) activists are recently much in the news but most of them get entangled in bureaucratic cobwebs as also threats to life. Ordinary people chug along in quest for the daily crumb and has no time for patriotism. Nothing is free - everything has a price or what you call in PR quarters: entertainment expenses. Whatever, India is a better country than the dungeons of Africa or the aristocracies of the Arabs.

  • Comment number 33.

    I am an American and I can say that by and large my country's truly free press has shrunk considerably. Over the past fifteen years or so, politically conservative scions of Corporate America have been buying news organizations in order to eliminate "liberal bias," a euphemism for newspapers that printed all sides of a question rather than just one side. America now hosts two large conglomerates: The Gannett corp which owns about eighty dailies and 900 non dailies, and "Fox" which is run by Rupert Murdoch. Interestingly these have ties to smaller organizations in the UK: Gannett to News Corp or News Quest, and Murdoch to Sky News, all of which promote the interests of big business at the expense of any who try to defend against those interests.

  • Comment number 34.

    A free press or a responsible press?
    It would be nice if either really existed.

    Given the amount of news fit to print and the amount of news fitted to print, following the dictat of the owner, one is reminded of Pravda (News)and Izvestia (truth), the two major Soviet Union papers.

    Russians said: "There is no Pravda in Izvestia, and there is no Izvestia in Pravda", simply meaning "There is no truth in News, and there is no news in Truth."

    In wartime, censorship is an obvious necessity, but lets not forget that even in peacetime Britain we have had extreme censorship of our newspapers, radio and television - when Edward VIII formed his attachment to the American divorcee, British people were denied any knowledge of the affair on government orders. Not that the American media is any better, one lawyer described to me the American system as trying the accused in the press and finding him innocent in court.

  • Comment number 35.

    Free Press in Britain - most of it is owned by one man, Rupert Murdoch. The elements of the media not owned by Rupert Murdoch repeat or report on his version of events. Non-Murdoch views are the exception, but the fact they do occassionally occur is an propspect of hope.
    If Britain wants a free press they must stop buying the Murdoch owned and influenced newspapers and avoid his dominated television media. This would lead to ignorance of world events, but better ignorance than the perverted views on offer.
    Good luck any brave governement that attempts to introduce a free press against the mass influence held by News International.

  • Comment number 36.

    We have a free press in this country but they fail to accept the responsibility that comes with that freedom.

    We don't have journalism anymore but editorials and distortion of the facts to suit their purpose. Even the BBC has fallen this way since Nick Robinson became political editor - he is the tablid voice of the BBC.

    It is a sad endictment that they want the freedom but take no responisbility that comes with it.

  • Comment number 37.

    "Does your country have a free press?"

    I don't think that's a very smart question: obviously people who are from countries where the press isn't free aren't gonna say that on this forum because it would endanger them. So the only people answering no would be slightly paranoid people from a country that actually does have a free press (again, if it didn't they wouldn't be comfortable saying it out loud).

    Freedom of speech is somewhat compromised in Europe, but freedom of the press is not.

  • Comment number 38.

    Nothing in this world is truly free. You either pay a fee to use something, buy something, or you pay taxes to use something, or buy something, or both. Usually both.

  • Comment number 39.

    This is something that swings both ways. In some countries any form of criticism of the Government is treated harshly. Here however we have the freedom that allows our press to make up any story they wish as long as it sells their worthless rag. Only the rich can take them on through the courts. In the end you can give the press as much freedom as you want but can you trust the journalists/editors to use it it wisely? I think not, many journalists(not all), are hypocritical and lazy leeches.
    As far as the criticism of the HYS censorship goes, I too have fallen foul of that. However, I would rather have it than what we see on another news channels website where discussion/debate is reduced to a slanging match between a few obnoxious individuals.

  • Comment number 40.

    Is is a sad truth that the news media in this country is owned by foreign interests with their own axes to grind, so until we ban foreign ownership of our media this country will never have a free press.

  • Comment number 41.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 42.

    It is very easy to be cynical about the media and press in particular. The bias and filtering of selective stories is becoming more prevalent - however the odd gem like the publishing of the expenses shows that 'information' pieces can still be uncovered, distributed, and massively influential.

    The term 'free press' media though is now radically different from even 10 years ago. With the Internet, information can pass round the world in seconds from a roadsweeper to a whitehall insider. Thats why I don't give two hoots about Fleet Street in this context - it's Digital Distribution I'm more concerned about, which is why aspects of the Digital Economy Bill are extremely disturbing.

  • Comment number 43.

    As an American, I can honestly write that we probably have one of the most censored presses in the world. This is especially true when it comes to reporting what is happening in Palestine. It is heavily biased toward Israel. If most Americans knew the truth about what is going on there, there would be more outrage. If the press did cover the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in a truthful manner, then Israel would simply call them "anti-Semitic" and the Jews would boycott the paper(s).

    If the presses' aren't reporting the whole story, then what good are they?

    Why should I have to get my news from foreign sources to find the truth? B.B.C. News is the only reliable source to find most of the truth regarding the events in the middle east and especially in regards to Palestine. Even then, I suspect that things are swayed toward Israel.

    We need a less biased way of getting the news. Thankfully, we have the Internet, which often exposes the biases within the current media(s).

  • Comment number 44.

    I believe it to be 'free', so long as it follows the line of its owners and editors. The media has the power to influence. Ownership of that power can be abused, so what do we mean by a 'free' press? Do we mean (1) reporting the facts truthfully (2) stating clearly when something is an opinion, as opposed to a fact? (3) Acknowledging that something said might not be entirely true? (i.e. admitting you do not know). Or, do we mean that the media must just be free from Government influence and that of other similar authorities? Remember, press freedom should go hand in hand with responsibility. Does it nowadays? I am not so sure.

  • Comment number 45.

    In my country the only thing that the press can't do (beyond undebatable hate-speech) is touch on certain sensitive historical/religious topics where an anti-mainstream view is supported.

    But even then, the most that happens is someone writes an angry letter and your publication is banned. Unless it is on the internet, then having it banned actually makes it get more readers.

    We are an internet society, and the internet is key for the freedom of information.

  • Comment number 46.

    44. At 2:38pm on 03 May 2010, Alasdair Campbell wrote:
    I believe it to be 'free', so long as it follows the line of its owners and editors. The media has the power to influence. Ownership of that power can be abused, so what do we mean by a 'free' press? Do we mean (1) reporting the facts truthfully (2) stating clearly when something is an opinion, as opposed to a fact? (3) Acknowledging that something said might not be entirely true? (i.e. admitting you do not know). Or, do we mean that the media must just be free from Government influence and that of other similar authorities? Remember, press freedom should go hand in hand with responsibility. Does it nowadays? I am not so sure.

    I take a more purist understanding in that I want press freedom to reflect truth.
    Part of this would be achieved by media having to clearly state when a matter is fact - reported as understood at that point, i.e. News - or comment - interpretation of representation of fact. In this way, for instance, little produced by News International could be truly be termed news; their papers therefore would become magazines and open to VAT.
    Currently, too much comment is presented as News, and worse still too many are believing the manipulated information so presented.

  • Comment number 47.

    He who pays the Piper,calls the 'tune'!
    Cyclops

  • Comment number 48.

    No one has a totally unbiased press. But the U.S has probaly the freest press in thw world.

    Unlike certain dictatorship in Venzuela, North Korea and other totalirian states the Press is not beat up or shut dowm

    Nor like Al Jazeera are they propoganda sights.

  • Comment number 49.

    We have a FREE press only as far as they 'owners' of the free press will allow and despite the Labour Activists repeatedly complaining in HYS forums that the press are in the Hands of the Conservatives, they are talking out of ignorance, indoctrination and a total lack of understanding how most the press now operates in the UK.

    As a FREELANCE member of the National Union of Journalists, I will write a NEWS article, it is the DECISION of the Editor whether or not it will be published in the National or Local Dailies, if not, I will get it published into the world of the Internet.

    In some ways, we have MORE freedom now than ever before, the trouble is, everyone now claims to be an 'EXPERT' and people get bored off with the constant stream of claims and denials.

    If we worried less about 'celebrity' in the UK, then maybe the public would get to hear and read about REAL NEWS and have more of an understanding about the world around them.

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    Americans are censored in the electronic media by gay catholic bishops. They refuse to allow freedom of speech. Heretics control the press to prevent challenges to their position and immorality.

  • Comment number 52.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 53.

    I agree with Fred about, well at least the first line: 'Our press is a disgrace; it undermines our freedom and democracy.'
    Some of our press (well most of it – papers for sure)
    They are ridiculous - I think and hope they are shooting themselves in the foot... I do not buy a paper anymore - I watch the news channels on TV and online - the papers are a joke - their summaries (that’s all they are) of the debates have been ridiculous - why buy a paper? Do the papers not understand that for once people are voting based on policies and people NOT based on their traditional values???
    I have noticed thought the BBC’s Nick Robinson tends to lean towards Labour – or is it me???

  • Comment number 54.

    Yes, here in India it is realtively free.However, this 'freedom' is subject to not writing any thing which hurts the 'business interests' of the owners which most of them do have in areas other than the media(Print/electronic) and to that extent a journalist may write only what enhances the ad revenue of the paper or TV channel/business interests of the owners.

  • Comment number 55.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 56.

    The BBC is not free,its a forced tax and the BBC is not fair and balanced either.

    Try watching the BBC on subjects such as....
    *Global warming.
    *Middle East conflict.
    *The EU.
    *War on terror.
    *Immigration.
    *R.C.church.

    The reporting is biased towards the beliefs of the leftwing liberals who now run the corpration.
    The BBC also used taxpayers money to keep the Balen report from the public.

    Call the Murdoch empire all you want but remember it is your choice if wish to subscribe to it,not have enforced upon you by a tax.

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    Peter... your line...

    'We are so bad because we seem to have a higher percentage of gullible people than other European countries; so we don't demand high standards from our press'

    I so hope that’s not true! - Worryingly this board is rather quiet however... we will find out come May 6th :-)

  • Comment number 59.

    No country has a press that is truly free of the views of the elite whether government of proprietors like Rupert Murdoch. Freedom is an illusion the crazy part is that so many fall for it as a tag line.

  • Comment number 60.

    Does your country have a free press?

    Nope.....

  • Comment number 61.

    We have a free press in the UK, in terms of media who can print whatever they like - it doesn't even have to be true, so long as they put in a three-line apology in page 108 of the next edition.

    As for the media being truly 'free', this is an illusion. You only have to look at all the papers with their various editorials supporting one party or another, and you can quickly understand that there's a serious bias in the UK press. At the moment, it favours the Conservatives and is one of the main reasons that Labour are falling behind in the polls. Should the tories get into power, we have the media to thank.

    One other area that the press struggles with (like the politicians) is equality. Take this example - let's say I am a Catholic, and the idea of homosexual relationships is totally against my religion. I could not state my belief on this forum - other than in this totally hypothetical situation - because otherwise my comment would be removed by a moderator. However, should a gay person wish to slate the Catholic church's stand on homosexuality, then there's no problem. One party has complete freedom of speech, the other party is being stifled in the name of 'equality'. If the press was totally free, then people would be allowed to have objectionable opinions without censorship. Nick Griffin of the BNP is another example - gets little coverage and an icy response from interviewers, when he's just as entitled to his opinions as the next person (in theory). We have a 'free' society, so long as your views conform to the liberal middle-classes who control our media.

  • Comment number 62.

    56. At 3:37pm on 03 May 2010, panchopablo wrote:
    Call the Murdoch empire all you want but remember it is your choice if wish to subscribe to it,not have enforced upon you by a tax.

    You are missing the point. Because of the Murdoch stranglehold through cinema, TV, commercial advertising, radio, and newsprint media, his views are those reported by the likes of the BBC every time they say 'The BBC has learned...' It's not a case of subscribing, it's a case of how to be free of this global dictatorship.

  • Comment number 63.

    If? The press is free in Britain. Why is the potest by thousands of people in Dudly NOW by the English Defence League being ignored!!?

  • Comment number 64.

    Free in what way?

    Free from something? (influence... control...)

    Free to do something? (if so, what?)

    Nobody writes or broadcasts without being influenced by a multitude of factors. You have to obey the law of the land. It's a good idea to keep your editor happy if you want to keep your job. Your own opinions and biases and prejudices will slant the way you present a story.

    I don't think it is actually possible for the press to be completely free. It's up to you and me to interpret what is written and broadcast in the light of what we know about the factors that influence the press.

    Try this: go find a news story on a subject you know about. See how many errors and inaccuracies there are. At least as it's a subject you know about, you know which bits are wrong. But think, there will be the same level of inaccuracy in a story about which you have no previous knowledge - but which bits? Scary, isn't it?

  • Comment number 65.

    1. They are free to print whatever they want whether it is true or not as long as if they are wrong they print a tiny retraction hidden away where no-one will ever read it.

    2. They are free to tie their headlines to any given cause they follow until their readers are sick and tired and are eventually forced to change paper. For example the Daily Express kept Princess Diana's face on their front page for years after her death and even the news vendors joked as they handed you the newspaper.

    3. They are free to print scare-mongering stories long before they are proven just as long as it makes a juicy headline.

    4. They are free to chase 'celebrities' around the globe with the mistaken understanding that the public want any glimpse of any starlet or drunken singer.

    Do they need more freedom - NO.

  • Comment number 66.

    Big business own the media, including the press and many TV stations. Just look at what the Murdoch empire has done to his native Australia, it has decimated the free press down under and what ever Murdoch wants, Murdoch gets.Yes we have many of our news papers owned by people with vested interests in controlling the hearts and minds of the gullible in the UK.How many times have you heard the ill informed saying and quoting the words from the SUN, saying "it must be true, the Sun said its true"

  • Comment number 67.

    We have a free press, but do we have a free people?

  • Comment number 68.

    Please Mr/Miss Moderator, I AM NOT A NEW POSTER

  • Comment number 69.

    We have a more free press and society than many.

    My husband and I were in St Petersburg when the siege at the school in Belsan was happening.

    There was a Russian newspaper, printed in English, in the hotel foyer. It mentioned that one Russian journalist travelling to the scene had been arrested and held in jail as a "terrorist". Another had been taken violently ill and ended up in hospital. Then the newspaper vanished.

  • Comment number 70.

    I was daft enough to think so until the run up to this election and the dreadful bias of the broadsheets towards the Tory party. The final straw though was The Times leader on Saturday which said that The Times would support the Tories and in a full page showed that The Times is no longer free. How will the broadsheets hold a Tory government to account in future ? How can we trust them not to bend the truth to fit their ideal new political hero ? All the UK press has long bent the news to the views of their owners, but now we have a global press and can we trust their non UK papers to print the truth about the UK ? Telegraph readers complain about the bias of the BBC news - so not even the readers are free any more. The rot goes deep, deep down.

  • Comment number 71.

    In the UK we have a free Press, thats why we can't believe what they say, can anyone else see the irony.

  • Comment number 72.

    There are times when I feel that the Press generally should be banned, BUT, I support fully their freedom to upset me. The free press are my representatives around the world and my eyes to events that would otherwise be hidden. They are my voice against dictators, my defence against even my own Government.
    The biggest problem is that so much of the press is now no longer free.

  • Comment number 73.

    Brain Washed
    How we are brain washed from birth to our death from religion at first with hell fire behest, damnation to follow if you never obeyed, the words of some scriptures to the very last page.
    The news paper of sorts with a message to tout, vote for this let all of you shout, but the owner is using his media for him, to brain wash you to vote, to do as he wish and vote for some evil, some power con trick, to make his empire that richer with brain washing tricks.
    Look at your TV, now America is best, with hundreds of stations that pick at you minds and brain wash the States from the land to the sea, with falsehoods of terror to stab at your brain, to make out your President is a Satan, again and again.
    YouTube is crass, that couldn’t care less, as it stirs up the people with far right creepiness, it fosters the liars the hate and the s**t, that Hitler would be proud of and Joseph Goebbels would agree, “Great propaganda for a fascist Country”.
    But America is wise and can see through this tripe, the evil of Republicans on the extreme far off right, greed is their Bible for making them rich, with doctors and dentists and drugs firms galore who wont open their wallets to the destitute and the poor.
    So ride a chariot of burning fire into the realms of these deniers, burn out the wickedness in your midst, get rid of brain washers, the greedy ones, let America unite for EVERYONE.

    radicalpete

  • Comment number 74.

    Does your country have a free press?
    Not really, as I pay quite heavily for the daily (Finnish) newspapers delivered to the house. More seriously, the papers I buy, one national, one local, seem as free as most, and more than some. However, the reporting offers a strong sense of ethics, attempting to present the news in a fair, unbiased way. At no time is it felt that the reader is steered towards a given way of thinking. There are, perhaps regrettably, other newspapers which fail to meet such high standards, but there, the bias is easy to pick out. Mistakes can occur, but essentially it is fair to say that the Finnish press is trustworthy.

  • Comment number 75.

    Without much of knowledge about how much free our journalists are or press is where I am living-in to express an opinion on either side, I salute the Profession with utmost honor being they are the Four Main Pillars of our civilization for keeping the value of the entire humanity intact; warning us when there looms a danger or helping us when they see an opportunity lying in front of us to prepare ourselves accurately; considering ourselves nothing but a single human spice in the entire Universe while we are walking alone into the ‘unknown future’ apart from reporting day to day happening of events from all across the Globe through various sources available in hand.

    While other babies or children often go to sleep hearing sweet songs (Lullaby) from her mother or other near or dear ones, my liking was news of BBC nonetheless I knew nothing about it to understand but just the sound alone aired through radio wave was enough for me to enable me to go to sleep most effortlessly. That was the intensity of my Love towards the Journalists without drawing of an exception to any. When I was sacked from the service of the Company on charges of indulging myself on so called high level Corruption, most renowned ‘TIME’ Magazine gave me a space to publish some assorted ‘Blogs’ of mine in it, following wining the heart of Most Noble Managing Editor Mr. Richard Stengel to engage myself somehow without allowing any bad thought coming into my mind. It was much later only when I could able to reestablish my old relationship with BBC first born in my mind from nowhere. If I have any identity in my life, it is ‘TIME’ and ‘BBC’ with whom my relationship is eternal and beyond description although I am never a Journalist at any point in my life or meet any to learn something on the Subject to call myself so.

    As far as capture of American Journalist at Iran was concern, it was a human tragedy for happening so which had possibly force the humanity limitlessly go backward being it tantamount to a direct assault on ‘Truth’. Following living ourselves only on grant of allowances during my entire Service Career being payment of my monthly salary was withhold reasonless, since my various fervent calls to all to release my Gratuity to me is yet to see the light of the day which might see myself totally cut-off soon from everywhere the moment my present the availing of loan from Banks at very interest rate shall also exhaust. Accordingly I take this opportunity to beg all to Purdon me if by any chance I hurt any through my various ‘Blogs’ inadvertently.

    With our living in this complex world where we like to do nothing other than meeting one’s self interest; we only hope that the qualification of Journalism shall fly high in our minds collectively who can alone recue us from an imminent catastrophe of collapse.


    (Dr.M.M.HAZARIKA PhD)

  • Comment number 76.

    What does a free press mean to you?

    It means having other peoples' opinions pushed on me.

  • Comment number 77.

    This means very little to me as an individual who does not buy or read newspapers.
    But I am still affected by the headlines which assault everyone with their strategically placement in supermarkets and street vendors.
    Anyway they are free to print whatever slant on events they chose and we the public are free to not buy their stories.

  • Comment number 78.

    One thing this election has made clear is the need for a newspaper that is not politically biased.

  • Comment number 79.

    A free Press reports the truth without censorship from the State, wealthy tycoons or foreign bullies.

    A free Press is not biased in election reporting and does not commission opinion polls to influence elections.

    A free Press does not engage in hounding citizens whose political opinions are different to theirs.

    A free Press does not indoctrinate journalists with political mumbo jumbo.

    A free Press does not hire editors to run down the country in which they operate.

    A free Press hires competent journalists, not politically correct hacks.

  • Comment number 80.

    Freedom of speech is a basic human right and is enshrined in most democratic constitutions. But the degree of freedom varies. This is the sad aspect. In many countries, religious laws go against basic human rights and there are serious tussles. How can constitutional and religious laws be reconciled still troubles constitutional lawyers. One can only hope that common sense will prevail at the end. In many cases religion has eclipsed common sense and that is the worrying part.

  • Comment number 81.

    In the UK?

    I'd say the press is very free, possibly a little too free sometimes actually. It seems the press can get away with making up and exaggerating things a little too easily for my tastes.

  • Comment number 82.

    Free of what?, I have never seen a press free of it's owners. Media, like any other business serves the purpose of it's owners. Media owners may have different point of views, but one thing is common between them, they are all rich.

  • Comment number 83.

    Does my country have a free press? Yes, and no.

    Reporters are free to write pretty much whatever they like--as long as it meets the approval of their editor and publisher, who by virtue of their position are usually members of the local or national power elite.

    Journalists here are rarely murdered or physically assaulted for what they write and when it does happen the incidents are properly investigated and the culprits brought to justice. Journalists whose work has angered the government aren't subject to official harassment but are likely to be given the cold shoulder by government officials and find their access to sources curtailed.

    Unlike some countries, here the onus of proving libel is on the accuser and that what was published was true is considered a defense. Official censorship prior to publication is almost unheard of except in cases involving national security and even then if the media thinks the government is trying use that as an excuse to conceal embarassing facts they may, and have, publish it anyway and dare the gorvernment to do anything about it; government rarely does once the story is made public they're too busy trying cover their own backside.

    What remains to be seen is how much freedom the new media of bloggers will continue to have. Until now they're been pretty much free to say whatever they like but the traditional media regards them as threat and would love to bring them to heel while the government would like to shut them up because bloggers aren't part of the power elite and therefore can't be relied on to "see the big picture" and say the "right" thing. In fact, some of them do abuse their right to free speech and put out stories that are inflammatory, inaccurate and sometimes misleading--probably what makes them fun to read.

  • Comment number 84.

    We don't have a free press in the UK. It is owned by a monopoly, as in Murdoch. As for the journalists - they speak of a free prees but censor themselves. That is the difference between dictarships and our system - our reporters censor themselves. Just look at the reporting of the Afghan war.

  • Comment number 85.

    One case in point, a standard phrase on BBC reports is "State owned", referring to the media of countries opposed to the West. It is very telling that BBC has never used that phrase for itself or VOA. Well, they have that "freedom".

  • Comment number 86.

    As a Korean expat living abroad, I have been deeply concerned about the recent developments in the freedom of press and speach in Korea.

    When the CEO of the two biggest TV stations (KBS and MBC) in Korea, as well as the CEO of the 24hr news channel are made to step down, when those seats are filled with the cronies of the current administration, when the chief of the Korea Communications Commission (FCC equivalent) is another crony of the current administration, when the new CEO of MBC tells friends that he does what the government tells him, when these CEOs fire reporters or cancel shows critical to the current government, when the 3 biggest newspapers simply act as the mouthpieces of the current administration, when the government prosecutes people for things that are written in blogs, for even posting humorous parodies, when they disallow even legitimate and lawful demonstrations to take place, and none of it becomes reported, I become REAL concerned about the freedome of the press and speach.

  • Comment number 87.

    Freedom of speech is FREE, but Freedom of press is NOT affordable, so if you want to speak your mind out then it is possible, if you want to be heard in the media then one has to pay for it. Technically those who have the biggest wad of cash can manipulate the media and its content to suit their views, profits and visions. The poor in NO country in this earth have free speech, the term free speech in itself is a myth a stretch of truth that does not exist in any fact or manner.

  • Comment number 88.

    No. The American press is very biased. You either get the far left or the far right but never the truth.

  • Comment number 89.

    Press freedom in the U.S. is being eroded because of the increasing concentration of news media ownership in the hands of a few. As with the U.K., Rupert Murdoch (Davidethics comment of 4:56PM on 3 May) continues to swallow up influential parts of the news media, with the U.S. political and justice system looking off in the other direction. More of the TV network's evening news stands more as entertainment and pandering to the sponsoring advertisers than in previous times. Public Television is more objective, but with their increasing reliance upon corporate sponsorships for revenue they may soon follow the same route towards mediocrity. Fortunately, with the internet we now can access more sources of information than in the past including from overseas, and can at least partially escape being dependent upon domestic, often biased reports.

  • Comment number 90.

    Biased media? Check out the BBC moderators!

  • Comment number 91.

    When a news outlet choses not to print or use a story, it doesn't mean it is suppressing the news. It is governments that suppress the news, and sometimes just to cover their ars.

  • Comment number 92.

    Freedom of press was never free and will not be free in future. The day press will become free; it will bring revolution in the world.

    The electronic and print media have different policies in different countries. Though governments use press to project for the sole purpose of publicity but at the same time governments fail to protect precious human lives of the journalists.

    The day press will become free; no one in the world will be able to continue corrupt practices.

    It is a sad story of freedom of press, where press is always hold guilty due to none of its fault.

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.

    Free Press?
    Yes, it is free by law to do what it wants, but journalists are still employees and restrict their stories to what their editors approve of, or they get canned. Editors themselves are restricted to approve of what their CEO instructs them to.
    There are far far fewer journalists looking to "make or break" their career now. They're all just looking for the latest staged political event with which they do their best to serve their employers not their readers.

    It is worse than an officially restricted media. It is controlled media pretending to be free media.
    Just look at the 9/11 reporting. When people started to become skeptical about the official report of what caused it to collapse, they no longer included witness testimony describing explosions in the news reports.
    The BBC recording of 20minutes prior to building 7's collapse, stating it had already collapsed, which has infamously "gone missing from the archives", but visible all over youtube.

  • Comment number 95.

    raotflmao!!!!!

  • Comment number 96.

    The media is this country is definately, politically influenced. You only have to listen to reports on the election to note the political preference in the way reporters, trying hard to sound partial favour one party or another. As for the newspapers, it seems to depend on the political interests of the editor. I have yet to read or watch one single programme or newspaper item, that is totally independent in it's thought process.

  • Comment number 97.

    there is no country in the world with a completely free press, and the UK is so far down the line that it is just completely laughable. shame on you for thinking so lowly of you own readers!

  • Comment number 98.

    Our freedoms are would be nil if the press had its way.
    We have to put up with every twitch celebrities make
    Then they tell us how to vote and we have to pay them.
    You’d be more informed reading about Lord Sooty. In The Beano, Lord Snooty and his pals. Neglected young royalty have fallen in with a gang of dangerously hedonistic, upper-class yobs. Cameron's cronies in the Bullingdon class of '87

  • Comment number 99.

    It's as 'free' as Rupert, Lord A and the B Brothers want it to be.

  • Comment number 100.

    FREEDOM of Speech, FREEDOM of thought is worth Fighting for.
    Freedom for the Press Barons?
    They always want to ours away.
    FREEDOM is worth Fighting for.
    News papers they want to be our oppressors

 

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