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FREE press: Fight for a free and independent press – it's crucial to a democratic society

Imagine that the free press disappeared and you got all your news from rumor and social media. Imagine that there was no way to find out who wields power, who profits, who tells the truth, and who lies.

We came close to that this year, with fake news, warped news, timid news and confirmation-bias bubbles that offered reinforcement instead of challenge. But a free press – one that is independent and unfettered – is crucial to a free society

That’s why I’m writing to ask you for your support of the Guardian as 2016 comes to a close. Like many news publications that care about facts and truthful reporting, the Guardian is battling troubling attacks from Donald Trump and his allies. Last week, Breitbart News, the rightwing website founded by Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, opened a new front in the war over fake news, accusing the Guardian of a liberal media campaign to mislead readers about immigration. Earlier in the week, Newt Gingrich, a longtime advocate for the president-elect, called journalists lying “propagandists” and said Trump supporters were entering “a world in which we get to tell the truth”.

If you’ve studied how societies fall apart and how dictatorships arise, you know that strangling an independent press is key. We talk about governments having intelligence and intelligence agencies, but a free country depends on our intelligence – on our informed understanding of the issues. An independent media is the people’s intelligence agency.

Read more: Fight for a free and independent press – it's crucial to a democratic society | Membership | The Guardian

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