Opinion

Editorial: Real reform in Indian Country starts with a free press





On the heels of a visit to North Dakota by President Barack Obama, newspaper argues for a free press in Indian Country:
Here’s one idea, which has been offered in this space before:

Take steps to guarantee the freedom of the press on Indian reservations.

For in order to solve their problems of governance, a free people need a free and independent press. And it’s just as simple as that.

Americans recognize this truth because it’s reflected in societies and hard-won experience around the world. It might be coincidence that free countries tend to guarantee and enforce press freedom, while tyrants everywhere make controlling the press one of their first priorities.

But probably not. For press freedom has a way of promoting political freedom, as the tyrants know. It does this by exposing corruption and pointing out other serious flaws — a force for the better in free societies, where elections then empower people to make change; but a force that runs counter to dictators’ interests, because even the strongest oligarch can’t suppress the rage of a fully informed people.

The First Amendment guarantees press freedom in the United States, of course. But on many Indian reservations, tribal officials can close meetings at will, deny access to records and even order reporters to be arrested.

Get the Story:
Editorial: Real reform on reservations starts with a free press (The Grand Forks Herald 6/17)

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