Journalism as a profession is an independent pillar of democracy. As a fourth estate, it is at par with the government, the Church (religion) and the community — the other estates of democracy.
A journalist has an inherent responsibility without which he ought not qualify to that degraded yet noble position, or a violation of which entails penalty and may disqualify him to enjoy the right guaranteed by the supreme law of any civilized society.
Such is the limit especially of press freedom.
Journalists enjoy the status of the fourth estate because they perform the role of giving the public the information they need, on the one hand, and policy and decision-makers, on the other.
The public has the right to know, for example, what the government is going to do as measure for a disaster to come, or if there is any threat to public safety which needs their role to perform.
They must be reminded from time to time on their obligation as citizens and be informed what to do for their common welfare.
On the other hand, the government should be fed with proper and true information as basis for policy and decision-making. And in giving the information, journalists must only give true information without a sided, biased and partial judgment.
Journalists are not preachers; they are reporters. They are not propagandists but independent unfettered objective propagators of current events.
Journalists are to inform not to misinform, to help build or reconstruct, not to demolish or destruct.
The Philippines has the most number of journalist casualties, mostly provincial practitioners.
But if only Filipino provincial journalists abide with, follow, and stick to the true conduct of journalism, or for that matter, the Fourth Estate, maybe the number of casualties among Filipino journalists would not be that high. (A repost)