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by Newropeans-Magazine
2010-12-22 08:48:47
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In 1938 Wickham Steed wrote in "The Press" a wonderful Penguin Special called '"The press is the central problem of modern democracy". Steed describes in this book the press as the main way to 'free peoples' understanding of public information, public opinion and public criticism. A free, independent and critical press is the only way to maintain a democracy. Democracy is not easy and requires a high degree of culture. Disappearing over the free press is the dictatorship in coming.Newropeans-Magazine Corruption and inefficiency grow until society no longer accepts and rebels. Steed said.  

"The Press" is full of still recognizable analysis on the important role of the press and I had to think about when following all developments in the last week of Wikileaks.

You can read on Wikileaks website: in the years leading up to the founding of WikiLeaks, we observed the world's publishing media becoming less independent and far less willing to ask the hard questions of government, corporations and other institutions. We believed this needed to change.
Publishing improves transparency, and this transparency creates a better society for all people. Better scrutiny leads to reduced corruption and stronger democracies in all society's institutions, including government, corporations and other organisations. A healthy, vibrant and inquisitive journalistic media plays a vital role in achieving these goals. We are part of that media.

In 1938 the increase of the number of personal "newsletters" was a sign that the public confidence in the press as a free institution was losing. Too much is not written or analysed. Commercial interests associated with the cost of a newspaper are the main reasons that threaten the loss of freedom. Today, more than 70 years later the number of personal newsletters in the form of blogs is uncountable. Even if most blogs show like most commercial and public media in particular superficial facts and opinions. What I miss are those organizations à la Wikileaks, preferably not anonymous, giving substance to what is written. Fact-finding into the functioning of democracy and statements of politicians and administrators at all levels in government, industry and other organizations have far too little space.

Wikileaks throws a stone in a fire that has stopped too long and deserves our support. The release of a BrusselsLeaks, BalkanLeaks and in short term of a TheHagueLeaks also give back to journalism the level that it must have as Wickham Steed stated in his book.


Veronique Swinkels

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