College of Public Health

Creativity and Freedom of the Press


stacks of newspapersYou might be surprised by the inclusion of “creativity and freedom of the press” in our list.Big Kenny, of course, has a successful career in creativity—through music and entertainment— and both Bill and Randy are frequent public speakers, but don’t be fooled. Creativity and freedom of expression aren’t just about entertainment, political, or educational events.

The ability to express your ideas, critiques and concerns is essential to solving many of the world’s challenges. It is simply unacceptable that in 2013 70 journalists were killed and over 200 were in jail—murdered or imprisoned because their free thought represented a threat to those in power. Over the past five years, over 400 journalists were forced into exile.

The fundamental essence of freedom of expression is that a person should be allowed to express his opinion or air her concerns, whatever they may be. All people should be free to do so, free from the threat of violence or imprisonment, fines, or reprisals. We don't, and won’t, always agree. We can, in fact, disagree strongly. That is the basis of the democratic process and cornerstone of innovation.

Creativity and freedom of expression are essential to dialogue and truth, and these are essential to democracy. Fear of expressing an opinion—for whatever reason—threatens the very fabric of our world.

The authors would like to thank Ms. Katie Neel, MPH, for conducting initial fact-checking for this article. The authors would also like to thank Alli Proffitt, Kate Etue, Brad Lifford, and Dara Young for remarkably thoughtful and insightful editing and other invaluable contributions.  

This article reflects the personal views of the authors and does not necessarily represent the views of their employers, co-workers, or others.