“Define and illustrate the meaning of the term freedom of the press”
Freedom of the press relates to the right of newspapers, magazines, and TV to express what they see and think without fear of punishment for expressing their opinions. Freedom of the press is about the ability of the press to tell the truth about the corruption and poor policies of the government without suffering problems or the threat of jail or fine from government.
Freedom of the press is mostly witnessed in democratic countries such as the US and European countries where newspapers, magazines and TV stations can cover any story or issue without fear from government. In fact, it is the government that is usually afraid of the press because governments in democratic countries consider the press as the eye and the ear of the people.
In an undemocratic country, however, the press speaks for the government. In such countries such as China, North Korea and most Arab countries, the press media do not dare to speak against the government. Rather, they support the decisions of the government even if they are wrong because if they do not do that, newspapers are closed down and reporters are sent to jail. This is very common in Egypt, for example where many reporters are in prison. In Lebanon, the press enjoys some freedom, but not all the time. A few years ago, several newspapers such as Al-Diyar and As-Safir were closed down for several days and they were forced to pay huge sums of money when they strongly criticized the government of Prime Minister Hariri.
Sometimes, the press may go too far with their freedom and invade the privacy of famous people or politicians. This is not real freedom of the press. Rather, it is an abuse of the freedom that the press is supposed to enjoy.
In conclusion, freedom of the press is the right of the press to cover the truth and to show it to the public without any prevention or problems from the government for doing this. However, it is not about invading the privacy of people and destroying their lives. Freedom of the press can only exist with democracy and cannot live without it.