Task 2 model answer 33 – Should freedom of the press be limited?

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Journalists often claim that people have the right to know everything. Are there any situations in which the freedom of the press should be limited?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Freedom of information is considered to be an indication of an open and democratic country, yet this claim is often abused by those in the media as a way of exploiting people or situations. There are many cases in which journalistic freedoms are taken too far and some clear cases in which this should be limited.

Primarily, security must be considered. If an elected government is appointed the task of governing the country, there are likely to be times when information must be considered secret for the good of the nation. This could be in military, technological or innovative fields. Examples of this are commonplace when during wars, certain inform

In addition, there is also the personal aspect to consider. Journalists, especially those working for the tabloid papers, are not concerned about the mental and emotional anguish they might cause with certain stories. For example, people who have suffered a personal tragedy or loss are followed, questioned and photographed at a time when they are emotionally vulnerable. It is for the protection of such individuals or families that freedom of the press should face limitations.

However, there are occasions when misdemeanours or crimes have only come to light through investigative journalism. It is unlikely that any government would publicly acknowledge an error if it was felt it would otherwise not become common knowledge.

Overall, it would seem that limitations put on freedom of the press should be based on respect for the consequences, a situation that would be best served by limiting media access only to what will cause undue harm.

(259 words)

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