… BECAUSE DEMOCRACY IS HOLY!
The media is the pillar of democracy. If media is in crisis, than democracy is in crisis too. If the media fails to function properly, and democracy does not deliver the expected results. And it is precisely this interconnection and interdependence that requires a greater engagement of all actors in society in supporting professional media.
Author: Xhelal Neziri
Of all the systems tried so far, democracy has proved to be the most stable. The monarchy, where the state belonged only to the king and his family, is now only present in a few small, unimportant places. Communism, where everything belonged to the party and its leaders, collapsed in the early 1990s of the previous century. Different forms of oligarchy, such as a system where the state is ruled by a group of wealthy people, or by authoritarianism – where all governing power is concentrated in one’s hands – are only experiments of people who aim to maintain power until they are alive, without securing a continuation or transition of Government.
The Scandinavian countries, the European Union, the US, Canada … are products of democracy, where the country is governed by the citizen or the people. This right is guaranteed by free elections, where people elect those who will represent and guide them to the next mandate. In order to make the right choice, they must have the right information for the contestants. They need to know whether they really have the will and capacity to deliver on what they promise, or if what they promise is the right offer for them.
Unlike democracy, all other systems have produced millions of executed, imprisoned, or interned people. Kingdoms, dictatorial or oligarchic countries see people as the object of exploitation to preserve and strengthen their power. But strangely, authoritarian leaders from undemocratic countries in Asia or Latin America are still viewed with sympathy by certain social groups. The strong hand of the state makes it a model for the politicians of the European continent – where democracy was born in the ancient period.
“Who left the door open?” – asked a panelist at a conference organized by the European Union (EC) these days in Podgorica, Montenegro, entitled “EU- Media Days in the Western Balkans”. It is the media that has promoted and supported politicians who do not respect democratic values. It is journalists who have been persuaded by media owners to be in function of anti-democratic propaganda. It is the state that has not created a free market that will guarantee healthy competition between actors, but with direct or indirect interventions has made selections in the media market, by saying the last word on which medium will exist and which one should be extinguished.
It is another undeniable fact – our societies are not so friendly to media or to journalists. It seems that the frustrations caused by the failed politicians, for whom they voted for, are spewing and attacking the media and journalists. In countries with a democratic tradition, guilt has the precise address, because the citizen has the courage to act or protest. This courage comes from a democratic constitution, operationalized by laws and bylaws that focus on the freedom and fundamental rights of the citizen, not the power and privileges of the ruler.
The media is the pillar of democracy. If media is in crisis, than democracy is in crisis too. If the media fails to function properly, and democracy does not deliver the expected results. And it is precisely this interconnection and interdependence that requires a greater engagement of all actors in society in supporting professional media. Because democracy is holy.