Human dignity as inherent in every individual; transcends, geographic, ethnic, and cultural differences. That primary foundation however has to contend with biases found within society and its institutions due to financial situations, cultural background, and the social status of the individual. Through developing socially and materially we establish our identity while insisting that others respect our rights. Values are forged which not only provide a sense of self-esteem, but also grant unto us the respect of others.
Philosophically, and legally, individual rights are core values integral to democratic order, and one of those precepts is the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Those values are bound in with the fact that man is a rational and moral entity capable of reasoning according to established principles. After all, it is the ability to think that makes us unique individuals, each with his or her own identity. Respect for individuality must be foremost for how can one speak of personal dignity apart from holding to that also?
Personal growth and self esteem require that fundamental human rights be guaranteed such being upheld by the effective rule of law under democratic governance. Where the press has information regarding serious violations of human rights it has an obligation to inform the public concerning such. That requires that the press act in a responsible, conscientious, and mature manner under liberty, and not be muzzled or restrained with respect to publishing that information. Apart from a free press there can be no assurance of personal freedom. Under democracy the press ought to make it a point to oppose those privileged minority groups seeking to impose their will down upon the rest of the nation; and where they are not, they ought to.
It is hardly a coincidence that the word ‘journalism’ is derived from ‘jour’, the French word for ‘day’, which suggests that the news ought to be current, accessible, out where it can be seen. The people as sovereign must insure that bureaucrats not subvert the mainstream media to fashion reality and impose their values down upon us. It is therefore essential what Wikileaks is doing. “Aim high and dig deep”, -search and discover the truth. The media should not be hesitant, for freedom of the press includes the right to critically, but objectively, publish information and enable readers to come to their own conclusions apart from any condescending attitudes and prejudiced opinions. Constructive critical analysis of a social order allows for such to progress and become stronger.
A society that can turn a blind eye to the truth, such citing ‘national interest’ concerns, is a backward society with no true understanding of what its best interests are. We must not be apathetic or ambivalent. Will you be just a bystander, a statistic, allowing the situation to grow worse? Will you ignore the situation as regards others; war, hunger, fear, and corruption until you cannot anymore, such coming down upon your own head? Remember; “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”. How would society have fared if those renowned men from the past had of been preoccupied, only concerned for their own lives, they having turned their heads, ignoring injustice, rather than give heed to those noble inclinations within their hearts?
So when Wikileaks comes on scene bravely opening up an innovative way to transform society in accord with humanitarian values, do we simply remain cocooned in our own little worlds, casually looking away? Wikileaks is here to stay, and this is the post ‘Collateral Murder’ world where things cannot remain the same. You don’t need someone else to do your thinking for you, to make the decisions for you, to foist their questionable values down upon you. It’s up to you to take the initiative rather than depend on others. Don’t let them ignore you, they esteeming you to be just another consumer. We need to back those who would aid us in finding our way, awaking us to our moral obligations as true sentient beings.
Mirjana & Jasminka
Translation by: Digital Stealth