When the media cannot accurately tell the whole story, it’s impossible to achieve balanced, high quality journalism. Where the media are pressured to only report on things which align with the ideological or political framework: journalists are forced to self-censor. Some do not report the full story, while others choose to report on other, ‘safer’ topics instead. is power. In print, on line, or on TV or radio: without a free exchange of information, people can’t be fully aware of what’s going on around them and so can’t meaningfully participate in their communities or democracies. Local and national reporters, bloggers and news outlets can keep people informed about what is happening in the world around them. Freedom of expression is the legal underpinning which allows people to access information about current events and matters of public interest – whether that’s from large media companies, local newspapers, or from each other through citizen journalism and social media. When freedom of expression is respected and recognised the media are able to freely report on politics, economics and societal events as they occur. A democratic society hinges on the people being able to hold informed opinions and express them – both in voting booths and more broadly in their day-to-day lives. It’s important that people are able to ask tough questions of the people in power and find out about decisions which affect them and their fellow citizens. Freedom of expression is crucial to the process of participating in a democracy. It influences everything from newspapers to social media posts and campaign adverts. By allowing voters to make their voices heard and make educated choices about the topics which matter to them, freedom of expression strengthens democracies. A strong, independent media ensures transparency and helps reduce maladministration. Freedom of expression protects the rights of reporters, bloggers and news outlets – and the general public – to speak critically. Freedom of expression is not an absolute right. it does not protect hate speech or incitement to violence. That said, many other rights which are intrinsic to our daily lives build on and intersect with this protection for free thought and individual expression. Freedom of expression covers everything from satire to political campaigns to conversations in your own home. It’s a fundamental human right which allows for citizens to speak freely and without interference.