CIMUN Chronicle / Article / 2016

Editorial: The freedom of press must be upheld

IPD Article Image - Editorial: The freedom of press must be upheld

The Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Issues subcommittee of the UNGA began proposing solutions regarding the spread of misinformation in journalism. However, there is no easy way to regulate the press to reduce “fake news” without hindering or restricting the ability of all journalists.

During a formal debate, Vietnam called journalists “snakes” and said their rights should be reduced.

“The name whistleblowers implies they are doing good things,” the representative from Vietnam said. 

While journalists could possibly misinform the public, their freedom to publish as they desire is essential for exposing injustices within nations across the world. Freedom of speech must be upheld, otherwise people could be ruled by a repressive and manipulating government. Determining "fake news" has often been done subjectively. A government could easily declare news that they merely dislike as "fake" and attempt to prevent it from being published. This creates an ignorant public subjected to manipulation by the government.

“Journalists fundamentally undermine the health of national security. They only serve to misinform the public,” the representative from Vietnam said.

Although there have been recent surges of false reporting, the sole purpose of press is to inform the public about current events. Without the press, the public will only know what the government presents to them. Journalists are a fundamental part of any functioning nation.

While freedom of press is imperative, the U.N. must also treat and accommodate each nation individually.  What works in one nation may be appalling to another. 

“The U.N. should understand each country... for what they are,” a delegate from the U.K. said.