Susi Bascon and Dina Meza

Part of Media Freedom

22nd July 2019

Freedom of Expression as a Fundamental Pillar of Democratic Societies

Left – Susi Bascon, middle – Dina Meza

Dina Meza is an award winning Honduran journalist and defender of freedom of expression. She is the director of human rights organisation ASOPODEHU.

Susi Bascon has been the director of the UK section of Peace Brigades International since 1998 an organisation that currently provides live saving support and protection to over 800 Human Rights Defenders at risk around the world.

(Left – Dina Meza, right – Susi Bascon)
(Left – Dina Meza, right – Susi Bascon)

When, in a society, the voice is under siege and any critical or independent thinking is stalked, warning signals are being set off. Regardless of where in the world that individual’s rights are at risk, the fundamental right of freedom of expression is under serious threat.

Freedom of expression is a right not only for journalists and social communicators. It is essential for all citizens.

When the press is silenced, essential issues are drowned out. Without quality information, a society cannot make decisions. This leads to corruption and abuses of all rights, which can put anyone at risk.

It is important that authoritarian governments, those who want to stifle the press, to not expose their illegalities, know that they are being observed by everyone and that their abusive behaviour will have consequences. Without consequences they will have free reign to carry out more and more violations.

It is vital that journalists and social communicators can make quality journalism, following the principles of UNESCO and others. Journalism is a service of public interest and information is a common good. We must defend the validity and accessibility of public liberties and democratic rights that guarantee freedom of expression.

We must ensure that the public has access to reliable information, handled objectively and impartially. This information must be checked and verified accurately in order to boost its integrity. The legitimacy of this information, will make for a more perceptive and stronger society.

Journalism operating outside of these principles risks causing harm to society. It obstructs the very nature of freedom of expression and the press, favouring the authoritarian actions of governments that want to submit to systematic regimes of censorship.

The prospect of an open society can only be achieved if journalist’s lives and work are protected and supported. Attacks against them should be investigated and the environment in which they operate made free from any legal obstacles.

If the free press dies, all of our fundamental rights die too. We must wake up and act now!

Read more about PBI’s work in Honduras here

1 comment on “Freedom of Expression as a Fundamental Pillar of Democratic Societies

  1. Hello,

    This is such a great article on fundamental rights,
    feels so good to read this kind of article.

    Thank you !!

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