Media needs to be vibrant, broad-based and not restrict freedom of expression. This 30th world press freedom day that was marked recently was declared under the aegis of UNESCO. Right communication helps to address to the rights and freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights instituted by United Nations in 1948. This discourse aims to interlink freedom of expression as an indispensable, inalienable, and a vehicle to integrate the values on rights to citizens and media standing as a great pillar of the society that safeguards human rights.
Growing human rights values and freedom of expression has recently been under threat on a global scale. This decline has been overseen through restrictions on freedom of expression. Increased incidences associated with death of journalists, intimidation and restrictions on freedom of expression have indeed been hampering the growth of a sustainable, pro-people and human rights-oriented pluralistic media dispensation.
Sustainable press freedom requires more creative investment in journalism and mass communication that incorporates practitioners, grassroots media development, advocacy on fulfilment of rights and adherence to freedom of opinion. This ethos stands as inalienable rights that instrumentalise itself through an adoption of adequate media plan and policy practiced with democratic constitutionalism governance system.
A question arises how best to interlink accessibility to meet the demands of voiceless individuals and community that ultimately safeguards itself for the consciousness voice of multidimensional themes of the society. It expresses through meeting socio-cultural narratives of the society. Self-restraint by media persons should not constrict media and block thematic expression through gate keeping or concealing information and communication on the pretext of privacy. Various restrictive clauses in media rules and regulations undermine unfettered freedom of expressions.
Contemporary democratic mass based society encompasses all for all and by all expression of free will climate. Media should be able to work to safeguard the rights, privileges of journalists and civil society that adopts democratic constitutional dissemination practices. Only broad-based inclusive and pro-people oriented expressions meet conscious human rights adherence that ultimately helps ensure freedom of expression.
The challenges to ventilating pluralistic dispensation call for strengthening media institutions and interlinking discourse work ethos. It plays alongside the vehicle of Socrates advocacy by asking questions to receive answers or the Eastern concept to harmonisation that matches itself through adherence to Basudaibha Kutumbakam principle that embraces magnanimity, piousness, peace and tranquillity. This approach discourages hate speech, misinformation, disinformation and lopsided viewpoints that harm societal harmonic fabric. The value of people’s right to know and freedom of expression has since been practically recognised by UNESCO three decades back. Media helps to empower civic society to meet human rights.
The government began to implement the right to information 16 years ago. In February 2023, it adopted measures on integration of information work climate. Only a positive, democratic liberal acts with procedural rules and regulations enacted by the legislators followed by adequate investment in capacity building of journalists, communicators, civic society and media academia gauges over dignified human right advocacy through assistance from national and international institutions. This phenomenon ultimately helps to enjoy full-fledged democratic rights.
A transparent interlink between encoders and decoders for ushering free flow of expression safeguards people’s inalienable sovereign rights and duties. It stands itself as the backbone to democratic principles. Precautionary steps are needed to bridge the digital divide with news and views illiteracy, civic freedom, infrastructure and communication participation awards information choice, and its democratic selection on full-fledged adherence to meeting democratic information and communication.
Growing popularity of social media and other communication platforms need to break digital divide and deal with content convergence and divergence pluralistic themes. It prioritises people-led thematic narratives that become sustainable through inspirational assistance associated with the national and international communication capacity building measures.
Governance legitimacy receives support from individuals that advocate media literacy on communication and social aspirations. This is actually bridged alongside local, provincial and central level societal status through effective media governance requirements. It should interlink the society through equal participation and mitigate political, economic and socio-cultural harmonisation.
Professional media reflects itself through free expression of people’s will through true adherence to civic society rights as inalienable human rights. This is based on dissemination of objective, balanced, credible news and views. Media challenge remains itself to respect people’s conscious will and expressions that prioritise human rights as an indispensable tool for ushering into freedom of expression that remains itself as a backbone to cultivate people’s aspirations on multivariate themes.
(Pokhrel is a professor of journalism.)