3 – WHAT IS FREEDOM OF THE PRESS?
Freedom of the press guarantees that citizens shall have all the necessary information to make up their minds freely.
The job of the press is to inform readers and spark debates of ideas amongst the public. To do this, journalists follow certain rules. They must cover all topics while ensuring that they verify information to guarantee quality.
In a country that guarantees freedom of the press, journalists can do their jobs freely and experience no barriers to sharing their media content. This means they have the freedom they need to carry out rigorous journalism by conducting enquiries, investigations, and comparing sources. A journalist who is free uses analysis and contextualisation of the facts and possible explanations. This journalistic method is the basis for having reliable, high-quality information.
In some countries, press freedom is under threat and journalists may be kept from covering certain events or criticising people in power. Each year, the NGO Reporters Without Borders publishes a World Press Freedom Ranking.
CASE IN POINT
In August 2018, Montenegrin investigative journalist Jovo Martinovic was the winner of the 2018 Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism. He was given the award for his contributions to a free and independent press.
Jovo Martinovic has worked for a number of international outlets such as the BBC, The Economist, and The Financial Times. He is known for his extensive reporting on organised crime in Europe and war criminals in the Balkans. As a result of his investigations, he has been charged with drug trafficking.
In order to better understand issues related to press freedom, you can read ‘Indictment of freelance Montenegrin journalist Jovo Martinović’, a letter written by the International Federation of Journalists and the European Federation of Journalists and addressed to the Prime Minister of Montenegro. The letter demands that considerations be made for the circumstances of the journalist’s contact with the suspects: he was under cover for the sake of his investigation.