“Freedom is the mother of our democracy”

The greatest loss that a democracy could suffer is that which derives from the loss of freedom of expression.

Democracy and freedom are consubstantial values. Neither can exist authentically if the other is missing.

Democracy is lost when dictatorship replaces it. And the second, freedom of expression, when it is suffocated by the silence of total censorship.

In this approach I agree with the awardwinning Spanish journalist Federico Jimenez Losantos, for whom democracy is a system of public opinion that is nourished by the free discussion of ideas, in the widest plurality.

This apothegm, precisely, constituted the core of the speech with which José Luis Corripio Estrada (Pepin), accepted the national tribute that the Senate of the Republic paid him last day 5.

“Freedom is the mother of our democracy,” he said then to underline that without it freedom of expression, so often threatened in our history, and other human freedoms would not have prevailed.

As a promoter of the print and television media, Pepin Corripio has been consistent with his convictions and has never tried to create distinctions between information and opinion, nor to sniff or influence their directors.

Because he is sure that if opinion were lacking, it would be easy for the false democracy that derives into a dictatorship of silence to accommodate the news or information to its liking and whim under the predicament that these must conform to the parameters, currently in vogue, of so-called “news management” laws.

That is the trap that many regimes have laid to exercise political control of the media, which goes through subtle or open mechanisms of pressure on owners, executives and editors of journalistic companies, as if we were living in the time of the Inquisition.

Some could bend or become simple transmission belts for these pressures, but fortunately a robust culture prevails here that defends this substantial right.

This culture of plurality of opinion resists any attempt to impose news asepsis laws on information, and hence the value of Pepin Corripio’s defense of the principle of full freedom, without conditions.

His words are clear: “We understood (in relation to freedom of expression) that it was a moral obligation to maintain and preserve it from our media, so from them we promote the free expression of ideas making them, as our slogan says, “the voice of all”, for giving equal, free and
independent participation to the different expressions of political and philosophical thought, in all its versions.”