Washington, Sep 12 Free press has been a cornerstone of American democracy and also an essential contributor to the US belief in government confined by a system of checks and balances, an eminent Indian-American philanthropist has said.
“The overriding responsibility of the media is to separate facts from fiction and is to hold governments and leaders, including the President, to the same standards,” Frank Islam told a Washington audience this past week during the Alfred Friendly Press Partners Award Ceremony.
Among the awardees were Indian journalist Smitha Rajan, the first Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman fellow.
Describing Smitha as a fearless fighter, a foe of the power structure and a friend to the disadvantaged, Islam said she has strong leadership qualities and the capability to be a journalistic change agent. Smitha is an assistant editor with DNA Divya Bhaskar in Gujarat.
In his remarks, Islam said that the free press has been a cornerstone of American Democracy. “Our constitution enshrines freedom of press. It is also an essential contributor to the American belief in government confined by a system of checks and balances,” he said.
“Freedom of the press requires constant vigilance and care. It’s a precious gift given to us by the founders in the Constitution,” he said. The United States remains a vibrant democracy, in large part because of the resilience of its questioning press, he added.
“We have come tonight to praise the free press, not to bury it. There are others who want to do the opposite. Please don’t stop asking the hard questions and writing the tough stories. We need you now more than ever, in every part of the world,” Islam said while addressing the gathering.