A free press is an essential part of democracy, and journalists need protecting from powerful states and corporations. But the people producing our media also need to be accountable for their actions, and supported to do their jobs well through strong worker rights, effective regulation, and new funding models.
There are serious threats to press freedom around the world stemming from the security state and inadequate legal protections for journalists. Protecting press freedom, however, does not mean that journalists themselves are above the law or beyond accountability. Freedom of the press must go hand in hand with freedom of the public to assess and challenge the nature of that communication: freedom shared not power abused.
Until journalism is able to hold its own institutions of power to account, to expose its own malpractices and to challenge some of the most obvious abuses of media power, distrust in news journalism is likely to grow. Often press abuse becomes more prolific when financial imperatives loom large. So creating a sustainable system of funding for news in the public interest is vital. Such funding should be directed at those organisations that will also extend plurality, be not-for-profit, democratically organised and function solely in the public interest.