Letter to the Editor

Government watchdogs

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Constitution of our country established three branches of federal government; the legislative, the executive and the judiciary, and clearly defined the limits of the power of each branch, so there will always be a "check and balance" on the actions of each of them.

The founders also established another branch of government that will function independently from the other three federal branches, underscoring the division of authority between the federal and state governments. The Ten Amendment of the Constitution established "the power not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, not prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

So, our nation is governed by three branches of federal government: the legislature (congress), the executive (elected President and his/her assistants) and the judiciary (Supreme Court and other legal branches making legal decisions al lower level that the Justices). Also, each State of the Union (the fourth branch of government) has the authority and power to govern the affairs of their people, independently from the other three federal government branches.

But, there is a fifth government power, independent from all the other four, which mission is to watch and report to the people and, also, to the executive members of the four branches of government, on how the affairs of the nation are conducted, and provide them with a fair and balanced evaluation of their actions in governing our nation. This fifth power governing power is the printed, broadcasted, televised and electronic communication of news, information and opinions is called the press. Dictators, corrupted politicians and dishonest public and private business and organizations are not friends of the press.

Freedom of expression, as guaranteed by the First Amendment of our Constitution, is the vital ingredient in keeping American society in the forefront of cultural, scientific and economic development. Without a free and honest press none of this would be possible. The end of our great country will come the day when the voices of our printed, broadcasted and televised media of information and ideas will cease of exist due to means of force, coercion and intimidation used against it. Let's keep our free press free.

True social, economic and cultural progress springs from opposition, from differing ideas and conflicting opinions, freely expressed.

Juan F. Alonso

via e-mail