Eli Ridder, 19
The closing down of the Mercury, and local outlets across Canada, threatens our democratic society.
Czech film director Milos Forman said, “the cornerstone of democracy is free press – that’s the cornerstone”. This is a fundamental principle shared by most, if not all, modern western nations around the world.
Canada is known to be high on the index of free press worldwide, scoring in the top 20 consistently. Data by companies such as Reporters Without Borders show free press to traditionally be a high priority for Canadians. But is Canada losing this through the closing down of media outlets?
Free press enables the flow of information to the public, and an open forum for opinions of ordinary citizens, businesses, associations, political parties and all levels of government. It is an institution that informs, investigates, holds public officials and organizations accountable and enables democratic governance in a community and nation. This is the free press we should have for Canada, and is slowly slipping away as local papers disappear or amalgamate due to the corporations that hold a near monopoly in many regions scaling back.
The leading media source for this city, the Guelph Mercury has now been shut down. This is tragic for the city and leaves a hole in the character of Guelph.
I have trust that people in Guelph will be able to pick up the loose ends regarding the free press. Guelph is not the community that will cease to question, cease to hold institutions accountable because one force of one medium has shut its doors. But we will miss the common forum of the Mercury. We will miss the strength and integrity of the reporters there. We will miss the media source that stood as a cornerstone of democracy in our city.
My vision for the Guelph | Updater is to be a place of proper journalism via open submissions and a forum of discussion on the many aspects and events of Guelph. I am starting to contact people I know and have heard of that were involved in local media through Twitter, writing letters to the editor and even searching for professional journalists who would contribute.
Of course this will start small, and not is attempting to undermine current media sources, but rather be a source for Guelph, by Guelph. The loyalty of the Updater lies with the everyday Guelphite.
Please help by spreading the word, the Guelph Updater has arrived.