Local Media Praised for Shaping Democracy

Local journalists and members of the media fraternity in Solomon islands..Photo Supplied.

TRANSPARENCY Solomon Islands lauds the role of local media as they joined the Media Association of Solomon Islands with other media around the world to mark World Press Freedom Day on the Theme “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation”.

World Press Freedom Day was celebrated on 3rd May every year. The day is used to “celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; assess the state of press freedom throughout the world; defend the media from attacks on their independence, and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Speaking on the theme, TSI says Solomon Islands media execute a big role in contributing to the economic and political development of its citizens. Media play an important role in the campaign and election processes.

Media plays a crucial role in shaping a healthy democracy. It is the backbone of a democracy. Media makes us aware of various social, political and economical activities happening around the world. It is like a mirror, which shows us or strives to show us the bare truth and harsh realities of life.

TSI says during election the media helps people, especially illiterates, in electing the right person to power. The media also exposes the loopholes in the democratic system, which ultimately helps the government to fill the vacuums of these loopholes and to make the system more accountable, responsive and citizen-friendly.

Almost all citizens get their news and information from the media. Media shape how locals interpret and observe political information, such as election coverage and other political events.

Media is an important factor in promoting democracy and the rule of law only if it will be given the opportunity of freedom of expression and to deliver messages to the people without being oppressed or intimidated by the authorities of the respective countries or any entities that have the authority to prevent information from the people.

Solomon Islands media has undoubtedly evolved to become more active over the years. It is through the media that Solomon Islands politicians are reminded about their unfulfilled promises at the time of elections.

Media is rightly called the fourth Pillar of democracy – the Fourth Estate. It is through media that people become aware of so many aspects of life of which they are normally ignorant. Democracy is meaningless without a free, neutral and active media.

TSI is urging the media must remain neutral and objective in order to properly educate the public. Media coverage should be unbiased rather than favoring any one candidate or point of view in order for the voters to make informed decisions.

Journalists also facilitate the media’s watchdog function. In this role, the media function to protect the public from incompetent or corrupt political officials by exposing illegal or unethical practices to the public.

As a watchdog, the media act as the public’s protector or guardian. The public is then able to make informed decisions regarding the ouster of officials or changing of inept practices.

Even when not exposing corruption, the media provide information on the successes and failures of candidates, officials and government practices. The media educate and inform the public on how they’ve performed, which helps hold the parties accountable.