Mon | Jun 14, 2021

Press freedom and responsibility

Published:Friday | May 7, 2021 | 12:12 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

Freedom of expression no doubt means more than the right and power to speak or act without hindrance or restriction. It must mean more than than a passing acknowledgement of responsibility, since the zeal to act or speak cannot become its own right, or slander or recklessly defame someone’s character in the media would need no more censorship than the need to express oneself.

Judging by much of the unfiltered expressions that appear in media when covering sexual matters or character flaws of prominent individuals, it seems the freedom to express is in itself good. But freedom that restricts others to exercise the same is narrow and self-defeatist Freedom must be equally available to all – otherwise, smoking close by others or being outdoors without masks could possibly pass as individual choices.

The importance of freedom surfaces on issues that appear in the press – abortion, gay rights and countless others where it is not just the liberty that matters, but moral reasons that give liberty its value. For press freedom does not exist in a vacuum, and thus it should mean valuing expressions that embellish such freedom over just the gift of freedom.

HOMER SYLVESTER

Mount Vernon, New York