News And Democracy
Are online news publishers really going to help bring democracy and freedom to totalitarian regimes such as those in China, Afghanistan and North Korea, or will they just cause trouble by making people yearn for things they cannot attain?
In my opinion, online news publishers will in the long term help totalitarian regimes towards freedom and democracy. If online news were not available, people would maybe not have the opportunity to learn about democracy and what global politics are about. You may say that they start yearning for things that seam unattainable, but is people`s yearning not a possible beginning of change? If people do not know what they have the right to demand, how are things going to change then?
The Islamic prophet Mohammed once said: “The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the Martyr” (Mohammed, year unknown). This quote tells us that knowledge is of high value. Even though many journalists all over the world are being punished for revealing important knowledge, what they have written makes an immense importance for the society. It cannot be taken away once it is written down. The texts can educate people and give them the opportunity to judge how they find their lives. Do they like it? If not, how can they contribute to change it?
One other aspect of the totalitarian regimes is that many things are forbidden, such as reading newspapers and using the Internet. If you are caught reading a newspaper, then you are caught with touchable evidence. The Internet, on the other hand, is invisible. Even though those who govern try disconnecting the Internet, the technology nowadays is so well developed that some people might be able to use it anyway. That opens the way for knowledge and insight into other people`s life through news. When explaining fresh news in the light of history, it can both inform people about the development of democracies that have happened before, how the global situation is now, and give inspiration and urge of a life change. As Lamble (2010) says; “Journalism and democracy both evolved in Ancient Greece and the two have been inseparably linked ever since”. This means that the online journalism in theory could contribute towards a creation of democracy, even in totalitarian regimes.
Lamble, S. (2010, page 4). News as it happens. Melbourne: OUP.
Mohammed (unknown) from http://www.quotegarden.com/learning.html. Retrived 07/03/2011. Originally in the Koran.