Grese Sermaxhaj marks this year's World Press Freedom Day by chatting to two Youth Time writers about the importance of free writing.
Youth Time International Movement embraces a large community of young people all around the world.
Although we are fortunate to be a big family, we are unfortunate because not all of us, Youth Time contributors, can meet and know each other.
Sharing a common interest for this worldwide observation, we discussed this year’s theme “Information as a Public Good”, and how their experiences with Youth Time help them stay updated with media global trends.
This day serves as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.
Just as importantly, UNESCO reminds us, this is a day of support for the media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom.
It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in pursuing a story.
The Power of Freedom
In the beginning of our conversation, Herron, a Content Writer who uses his artistic background to produce various music articles, shares his message for this day.
“Freedom is to feel safe to express our inner diaries, our inner thoughts, our inner worries, and from there form a sense of community in our natural surroundings.
“From the form of literature, the words written on paper and countless computer screens have an immense power.”, says Herron, who pursued a Bachelor in International Business Management at Prague College in the Czech Republic.
He further shares the importance of continuing to discuss, to write, and to communicate.
“Without doing this, the world will continue to be misinformed, to be unaware of the hate in the world. To be afraid.
“Freedom is that power of providing those securities, a shield from fear, and furthermore love for everyone, everywhere.”
Freedom is not a privilege, he adds.
“Freedom is and always will be born within our minds, our emotions, and nurtured throughout our entire lives through love, hope, and belonging. Freedom is ‘no fear’. ”
Information is Priceless
As mentioned, this year’s theme is “Information as a Public Good”, serving as a call to affirm the importance of cherishing information as a public good.
About this, Herron says that the cherishing of information as a public good is vital as generations come and go.
He draws a parallel by emphasising money as a constant thought on many of our minds.
“Throughout our lives, we have been positioned to believe that education is a luxury.
“From little infants they teach us the price of a dollar, as we see through our adolescence how much money can provide or weaken our support systems.”
However, information, he believes should never have a price thrusted upon it.
“Information should be given and received freely, so that individuals can stay constantly knowledgeable of the many happenings that impact their lives.
“The cherishing of information as a public good is vital as generations come and go.”
Herron, who is also a singer/songwriter, model and entrepreneur, believes that through this circle of life, information is a key source of growth.
Celebrating While Bearing in Mind the Role of Unbiased Writing
Kagui, a full-time writer who loves to explore topics of self-improvement, sustainability, technology, and just a little of everything, brings into discussion that her father works at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and he spent his life showing the importance of the freedom of press.
“I was fortunate to be born after Ukraine gained sovereignty and never experienced being afraid to write the truth.”
She grew up in the Czech Republic, where the first president of the country, Vaclav Havel, said, “Freedom of expression is imperative to democracy.”
“This always stuck with me, although it seems like social media platforms have made it possible for an expression to become a threat to society these days.”
Observing World Press Freedom Day in 2021, Kagui believes it is imperative to take a deeper look at the media’s role.
“We live in an age where a news article can go viral with the click of a button.
“While we should celebrate press freedom, we must also acknowledge the importance of fact-checking and unbiased writing.”
Information Among the Most Important Public Goods
Whereas, for this year’s theme she recalls it was Thomas Jefferson who said that knowledge is power.
“Humans process an enormous amount of information every day, and we use it to make decisions that impact our lives.
“The number one goal and responsibility of the press is to provide factual information to readers.” says Kagui, who has a Bachelor in International Relations.
Since everything that we do, she goes on, relies so heavily on the information we have, it may be one of the most important public goods.
“As a public good, it is essential to keep pushing for governments to adequately finance and distribute information produced by a free and just press.”
The Joy Stemming from Being a Youth Time Contributor
Concluding this piece in a cheerful tone, both of them share how the experience as a contributor for Youth Time helps them stay connected with media trends, and also do their part so Youth Time achieves its mission for raising awareness of global issues.
They say one learns something new every day, and Isaac feels incredible because he has the pleasure of writing those learnings for all of cyberspace to read.
“Being a contributor to Youth Time allows me to express myself abundantly.
“Through my queerness, blackness, artistic flavour and my other beautiful puzzle pieces that define my masterpiece, I believe that Youth Time creates a space for individuals to feel, see, and taste everything that freedom offers.”
Youth Time has built a home within his dynamic life, as it allows him to pour out his global diary of all things research and information.
Nevertheless, Kagui says that it can be easy for her to get sucked into her bubble.
“Being a Youth Time Magazine contributor helps me stay grounded and up to date on topics of interest to young people worldwide.
“As a contributor to the magazine since 2014, I have seen the magazine grow as much as I have.”
She emphasies that not only does the magazine raise awareness of global issues, but it also does an impressive job empowering young people.
“Youth Time has always been an outstanding role model for press freedom, allowing voices and opinions of all kinds to be published.
“Plus, magazine articles are free for anyone to consume, a fine example of information as a public good.”
Happy Word Press Freedom Day from all of us at Youth Time Magazine, and don’t forget to like our Facebook page. We post updated content there daily.
Photos: Shutterstock, Olena Kagui and Isaac Herron
Last year, for World Press Freedom Day we spoke to a Kosovar journalist:
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