Chris BishopBy Chris Bishop|May 3, 2021|4 Minutes|In Editor's Desk

Editor’s Desk

Freedom now more than ever

Sadly, every year it is a day – born in Africa exactly 30 years ago– that floats by largely unnoticed; with every passing year it becomes more and more vital to our freedom as citizens.

I am talking about May 3, World Press Freedom Day – a day for which anyone who cares for the safety and welfare of their grandchildren should be supporting with every bone in their body. A day that celebrates the freedom of speech and thought that so many courageous journalists have given life and limb for.

I feel it is a day not given its due. Few people, including probably quite a few journalists, know that the day was born in Africa at the end of a UNESCO conference in Namibia, in 1991. On the last day of the conference, May 3, came the Windhoek Declaration promoting the right of the people to seek, impart and receive information.

What a different world this was. The last waves of freedom were sweeping across Africa. Namibia tasted freedom in 1990 and South Africa was to do so just under three years later. The world economy was in relatively good shape, compared to the COVID and recession ravaged landscape of today, and there was the feeling of progress and advancement in the air.

What a difference 30 years makes? These days trolls and people unhappy with their lives spew vitriol onto the internet. Hobgoblins sitting in darkened rooms cackle as they put out false news and information to destroy lives and reputations. People do in broad daylight what once they would once only whisper of in the dark.

Now don’t get me wrong, as a foot slogging old school journalist, I welcomed the coming of the world wide web. It felt like, overnight, we became a powerful gang of newsgatherers using the internet as a tool to gather information across continents. We were able to check official documents online and hold politicians to account.

Freedom of expression is not only good for the soul, it is also good for your wealth. If people feel free, it gives them more confidence to work, build and spend for the future. It allows for people to make correct decisions about their lives free of fear, uncertainty and rumour.

I fear there is too much wrong information polluting the net. People purporting to be professional journalists sit there and write the first thing that comes into their heads without checking,consideration, or a second of thought. Some may call it “content” I call it rubbish.

For the progress of society we need this rigor of verifying and writing responsibly. We need to reinforce our ethics and maintain the credibility of our work more than ever; I think in this world of noise and information overload only the good and true stories will stand out.

Billionaire Tomorrow is a frank, free and fair journal and it is going to stay that way.