Get the remote and choose a news channel. You have loads. Get your phone and browse for a newspaper. You have tons. You have options, but not everyone does.
Having wider options as a country does not mean that we gain the medal of freedom of the press. It means that the citizens have more sources to compare and create a more substantiated opinion.
We are immersed in our own reality. I got it. We are busy, and we live in a fast-paced environment. However, let’s bear in mind that what is meaningless for us, is a privilege for others. Freedom of access to information is not only about access to knowledge but also about the capacity to make knowledgeable decisions.
Having access to a free press also means that people can tell their own stories and narratives. Controlling the narrative is very important, especially if the group is misrepresented by the mainstream media.
One example is the African continent and the thousands of stories and voices that hardly ever reach the news. Voices of people that had things to tell and share, different from the mainstream stories about pity, misery, and death. When I was a journalism student, I remember thinking “Where are the empowering stories or positive stories about my continent? “.
By sharing positive or empowering stories, we don’t deny other realities but offer more layers to it.
In the last couple of years, journalists from African and non-African backgrounds have effectively worked to reconstruct the narrative. This collective effort is a step to reclaim their stories, their traditions and explain their reality.
When a country gains freedom of press, we all win. When someone gets access to knowledge, we all win. I like to think that these are collective wins. Not in the sense that we are in the centre of the ‘battlefield’, but more in a supportive role.
Get the remote and choose a news channel. You have loads. Get your phone and browse for a newspaper. You have tons. You have options, but not everyone does. Think that the next time and support them to gain the same access.