Message from CJA Canada

Beware misinterpretations of democracy
Never more than today have the messages of World Media Freedom Day mattered in a society where communication is so easily conveyed to so many by so few for the greater good.
Our profession the so few carries the torch and much of the burden for that.
Too easily our political representatives mouth the terms democracy, free expression and human rights. But those expressions are hollow (and dangerous) if their meaning is miss-applied. And journalists must not do that.
For example, too many of our Commonwealth member states are frail or even frightful on their observance of democracy. Oh, they claim to subscribe to it but the term is ignored in practice.
It is not enough for governments to say they are a democratic country. Hitler was elected by a democratic Germany in the 20th century. Lack of vigilance and resistance put that sophisticated nation on a steep slope to genocide, which cost a world war to restrain.
This can, and is, happening in many parts of the world and in a few members of the Commonwealth. Left unaddressed the rot will spread. Vigilance is the key to our safety.
Our hope also lies in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CMAG) in Perth, Australia, in October. CHOGM must heed and apply meaningfully the wisdoms our Eminent Persons Group (EPG) deliver. Pakistan’s voice in the EPG is the eminently sage Dr Asma Jahangir. There is none more worthy of a respected hearing in this matter.
In the meantime and closer to our roots, I am encouraged, watching RMNP’s and other sincere bodies’ efforts in Pakistan stepping forward and advancing training and discussion, particularly in the incouragement of women to join our hitherto male dominated ranks and showing your politicians and leaders the way. I pray you keep the pressure on despite often dreadful personal sacrifice. That truly gives democracy and human rights meaning.
Good luck from your friends and admirers in Canada and CJA branches


Murray Burt

Past International President CJA Canada

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