UNESCO recognizes the fact that sound journalism education contributes towards professional and ethical practice of journalism. Such journalism is better suited to foster democracy, dialogue and development.
Professional news media acts as a guardian of public interest. It is an important component of the checks and balances that form part of a democracy. By disseminating information to citizens, the news media enables citizen participation in development and strengthens accountability feedback mechanisms. Citizens cannot exercise and enjoy their citizenship in the absence of crucial information and knowledge, which well-trained journalists are better placed to provide.
Therefore, society has a responsibility to ensure its journalists have the competencies to seek out and interpret information, and the judgment and integrity to communicate it in as objective and unbiased terms as possible. At the core of journalism is the need for newsrooms that are staffed by well-trained and critically-minded journalists who are likely to influence the processes of democracy and development in their societies.
"While press freedom is the cornerstone of democracy and development, a well-trained and professional cadre of journalists is in turn the foundation of that press freedom. Without the skills and expertise of the professional journalist the press cannot effectively campaign for economic development, democracy, accountability, transparency and for an end to the abuse of citizen’s rights."
Geoffrey Nyarota, Laureate of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press 2002 and former editor of Daily News, Zimbabwe.