We congratulate GBC on press freedom
‘Freedom of the press is not just any issue. It is a vital component of living in a free and open democracy. Without it, information is controlled and limited and citizens deprived of good government,’ Equality Rights Group Chair, Felix Alvarez, has stated in a public communiqué.
‘ERG has for some years now been urging all players (media professionals and politicians in particular) to consider the vital role of a free press in our society. And, what’s more, to reconfigure the structures under which today’s Gibraltar media and press are required to fulfil their vital role of serving the public with open and fully independent information. As the United Nations this year has said on the occasion of its World Press Freedom Day: ‘information is a public good.’
‘For this reason, we congratulate Jonathan Scott and GBC wholeheartedly for a recent report in which they revealed the obstacles placed in their way in wanting to bring open reporting to the Gibraltar public on the Covid-19 pandemic. The report informed us of the political difficulties and obstacles placed before them and which impeded their ability to fully inform. In this, Scott and GBC have been pioneering, brave and demonstrated exactly the standards and professional ethics that quality journalism is about.
‘This society’s present and future rely much more than many give credence to on the high commitment of our media to its professional standards. Journalism today, whether written or broadcast, is an information frontline for each and every one of us as citizens. And it must be nurtured, supported and resourced by our institutions. It is an important balance and check on those who govern us.
‘In this respect, it behoves not only the Chief Minister and his administration, but the Leader of the Official Opposition, the GSD, and of Together Gibraltar as a third political Party, to similarly stand up publicly not only with mere words but with concrete commitments and proposals to building a future for our press and media and its professionals where the economics and resources available to our media are not only adequate but also as far distanced from dependence on any Administration as possible. Today’s direct reliance on political budgeting and resourcing do not deliver freedom of the press. That is plainer to see than ever before. Political control of our journalists and media must be a thing of the past.
‘Until such time as the political parties and their leaders are willing to deliver on this cornerstone of democratic life, all other talk of ‘freedom and democracy’ from their lips will increasingly be exposed as mere posturing,’ Mr. Alvarez concluded.