100 articles – ‘Freedom of the Press – 2010 survey’

30 May 2010

Written by: Lawrie Zion

‘Freedom of the Press 2010 survey’  published by Freedom House

Last year I visited a friend of mine in Zimbabwe. I had been studying the terrible state of the country in one of my classes and had read many negative reports so I decided to go and see for myself how things were. What struck me whilst there was the relatively positive view of the people I spoke to about their country and government. After watching the pro-government Zimbabwean news I began to understand why people didn’t see the government in the negative light as the western media had portrayed it. This made me wonder about the hidden influences controlling the media, including the Western media.  

For journalists it is essential to be aware of the influence of governments and non-state actors over the media so as to ensure that their reporting is not contaminated by hidden agendas. Whether reporting on events in our own society or somewhere else, an understanding of the various political influences is needed. 

Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press affirms the importance of freedom in the media and provides an extensive resource to develop a better understand of the impact of different actors on the media around the world. It notes the decline in press freedom worldwide and draws our attention to the strong correlation between freedom of the press and freedom of civil liberties.

Jane Hosking is a Master of Global Communications student at La Trobe University. This piece is part of the ‘100 articles’ project. To see the list so far or to learn more about the project, including how you can contribute to it, click here.