Far more than being simply a source for news and current events, newspapers and other mass media outlets provide a voice for the people as well as a place where officials can be held accountable and questioned by any and all citizens.
The term "spring offensive" may be out of favor in the media, but more than 50 organizations endorsed a forum this past Friday with some of the media's best known editorial heavyweights, to discuss the most serious crisis journalistic freedom has faced in decades.
On December 3rd in 1831, freewheeling author Anne Royall launched the nation's first muckraking newspaper in Washington, D.C., forever changing the state of journalism. We need Anne Royall's journalistic chutzpah today, more than ever.
The ideal of freedom of the press, so crucial to democracy, is upheld only when its practitioners willingly challenge the so-called "facts" of the powerful. Give us a watchdog press willing to bite the hand that feeds it, not a lapdog that snaps up all the little treats fed to it by its masters.
The world over, repressive governments censor or blackout the press and the Internet to shield itself from the forces of social change. Disturbing then to see the same thing happening in the United States.
While the damage to Dominique Strauss-Kahn's life and career cannot be mended, he now stands to be publicly vindicated, and there is a good chance that, at least in France, his honor will be restored. Not all victims of the press's hunger for scandal are as lucky.
Prominent authors, academics, lawyers, whistleblower activists have signed on to a strongly worded statement condemning "efforts to fraudulently criminalize the legitimate journalism of Julian Assange."
Lawlessness has been working out pretty well for Putin -- when courts don't work, and when the investigators are specialized in inventing cases rather than solving crimes, the Kremlin becomes the ultimate arbiter in the system.