Jacob Callus – Media Freedom Competition Submission

Hi 🙂 and hope this finds you well !! By way of introduction, my name is Jacob Callus, I’m 22 years old, and I’ve recently graduated in an M.A. in European Politics, Economics and Law from the Institute for European Studies at the University of Malta in 2021. Previously, I had also graduated in a B.A. Honours in International Relations from the University of Malta in 2020.  My interests include politics, current affairs, the news and history.

In relation to this submission in particular, it’s probably unlike any other assignment which I’ve written. This being the case as it will tackle the main scope of this project, and how it relates to the views of youths and young people. To start off with the role of the media, both in society and a modern setting, what this entails is certainly something which we’ve only gotten too used to listening.

At its foundational levels, the media acts as the fourth estate within a functioning and fully operational democratic society. It’s primary functions mainly revolve around it striving to educate, inform and entertain the general population of any given country in which it operates. Furthermore, the media strives to hold those in power accountable for their words, as well as their actions, whilst also investigating and exposing any instances where such power is abused or misused.

However, that is one amongst many roles which the media carries out. The media reports on what’s going on around you and even in other countries across the world, covers stories of human nature concerning people’s life experiences and their significance, and presents all the facts about any story in all their unvarnished and unfiltered truth. For the media to do all this and much more, it has to above all else be free. But what does press freedom really mean?

Press freedom encapsulates the ideal that media should be unrestricted, and not curtailed in any way whatsoever, whilst it is executing its duties. In order for a democracy to function properly, it is therefore essential for the media to be allowed to carry out such duties, and must never be hindered whilst doing so, be it in the form of intimidation or harassment, and unjust laws or behaviour. Within the modern 21st century society which we currently inhabit, the media continues to face such challenges, and many more. This includes, but is not limited to, journalists having to adapt to social media as a key apparatus in facilitating free expression and the transmission of information. There’s no doubt that other traditional forms of media continue to remain relevant, such as newspapers, television and radio. However, easy access to social media has permitted that it is a widespread resource and is abundant in terms of presence and numbers.

As much as social media has proven to be a popular platform, it has also appeared to be problematic. With social media now being so widely used, it has become easier for disinformation and misinformation to spread with little difficulty. This makes it all the more important for journalists to separate fact from fiction, and the lies from the truth. Furthermore, social media has also enabled individuals to feel as if they are ‘journalists’ simply because of a post they’ve uploaded on Facebook. There’s much more to journalism than that, as it ultimately shuns light on stories which leave an impact on people’s lives, and the things which made a difference in their own lives as well. In the age of misinformation being spread via social media and other forms of technology, it’s become even more important for media freedom to be exercised responsibly, and to remember the responsibility we have of appreciating such freedom.

Media freedom is what empowers journalists to do these things, and it is precisely why the freedom of the press must always be defended and preserved at all costs.

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