This lesson explores the prestige of a totally free push to democracy, with conversation through journalists from the United States and also South Africa. The United States is a centuries-old democracy and also South Africa made the shift to democracy from apartheid roughly twenty years earlier, however both countries enshrine the ideal to a complimentary press in their constitutions. “Establishing fathers” of both countries emphasized the need of a complimentary press: Thomas Jefferson insisted that “our liberty depends on the flexibility of the push, and also that cannot be limited without being shed.”1 Nelboy Mandela, South Africa’s first freely-chosen President, explained that “A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy . . . . It have to enjoy the security of the constitution, so that it have the right to protect our legal rights as citizens.”2

Freedom Housage, an independent organization devoted to huguy legal rights and also civil liberties, specifies a totally free push as “a media atmosphere wright here coverage of political news is durable, the security of journalists is guaranteed, state intrusion in media affairs is minimal, and the press is not subject to onerous legal or financial pressures.”3 In their 2016 assessment of international push flexibility, Freedom House classified the US press as “free” and South Africa’s as “partly totally free.”4 While both countries are officially committed to push liberty, both have also experienced tensions roughly the duty of the push in their democracies.

This lesboy features a podactors interwatch with Sam Fleming, Director of News and Programming at WBUR, a Boston public radio station; and also Judith February, a columnist, political commentator, and civil society advocate in Capetvery own, South Africa. By listening to the podactors and stating reflection questions, students check out the essential and also reciprocal relationship between a complimentary push and responsible citizenship. Optional extensions market resources for emerging important media literacy in students.


1 Thomas Jefferchild in a letter to Dr. James Currie (January 28, 1786) Lipscomb & Bergh 18:ii.2 Address by Nelchild Mandela to the International Press Institute Congress, February 14, 1994.

You are watching: Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.

Begin through Sharing a Quotation

Display this quotation from Thomas Jefferboy for students to read:

"When the push is complimentary and also eextremely male able to check out, all is safe. "(1799)

Ask students to paraphrase Jefferson’s words in writing and share it via a partner. Then they should comment on the similarities and differences in just how they each understood and also paraphrased Jefferson’s principles.Discuss the quotation as a class, via special attention to the definition of each word.What would certainly Jefferchild have actually expected by the “press”? What teams, organizations, and also individuals execute we incorporate in the “‘press” today?What can it mean for the press to be “free”? You might want to refer to the Freedom House meaning in the overwatch to this leschild.What can Jefferson suppose by “all is safe”?Does Jefferkid think that a complimentary press is all that is needed to make points “safe”? Why could something even more be required? What duty carry out citizens play?Jefferboy says that eincredibly “man” (today we would certainly say person), have to be “able to review.” Is this enough? To uncover good information and evaluation from the press, perform citizens must recognize anything past exactly how to read?Listen to the Interwatch Discuss the intersee and think about asking students any type of of the following questions:How are Fleming’s and February’s ideas around the prominence of a complimentary push similar to Thomas Jefferson’s? What execute they add to your thinking?What does it mean to say that the media is the “oxygen of democracy”?What perform good journalists do? What are some of their major responsibilities? How carry out they relate to those in power?What execute great citizens execute as soon as they connect through the media? What does it suppose to be a responsible customer of news? How deserve to the media help people to be much better citizens?

In this intercheck out, Sam Fleming alludes to some of the skills important for media proficiency. With Each Other through partners such as the News Literacy Project and also Listenwise, Facing History and Ourselves has actually emerged a variety of sources to construct news proficiency in young people. The resources below deserve to be provided within a leschild or to craft an entire unit:

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This resource is component of a campaign trying out the question: What renders democracy work? Join us for sources and tips on just how to talk around democracy via your students.