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from For the Record:

Honoring free expression online

Dean Wright is Global Editor, Ethics, Innovation and News Standards. Any opinions are his own.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Breaking Borders event in Berlin that marked the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The event, at which I spoke, took the anniversary as an opportunity to explore how the Internet is playing a role in advancing participatory democracy and free expression around the world.

The media of 1989--television and satellite technology--played a role in bringing down the wall by connecting people and empowering them with information. Now, 20 years later, vastly more powerful information and communication technology is connecting people online, making it more possible to get around efforts at censorship and the suppression of information.

As a result of discussions at the Breaking Borders conference, Google and Global Voices, the international network of bloggers, have established the Breaking Borders Award to honor those who are fighting for free expression.

from Sean Maguire:

The raw and the crafted

The Media Standards Trust has begun a lecture series on 'Why Journalism Matters'. It is disconcerting that it feels we have to ask the question. The argument put forward by the British group's director Martin Moore is that news organisations are so preoccupied with business survival that discussion of the broader social, political and cultural function of journalism gets forgotten. It is a pertinent review then, given the icy economic blasts hitting most Anglo-Saxon media groups, and notwithstanding the recent examples of self-evidently broader journalistic 'value' produced by London's Daily Telegraph in its politican-shaming investigations into parliamentarians' expenses.

First up in the series was Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times, who cantered through the justifications for a vibrant, independent press. Watchdog, informer, explainer, campaigner, community builder and debater - those are the roles that journalism plays. The value that it brings is most evident by comparison with the unhealthiness of states where the press is not free, noted Barber, citing the struggles of the citizenry in China and Russia to hold their leaders to account.

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