Today is World Free Press Day. Many of us know that included in the First Amendment is our sacred freedom of the press, but because this document is two hundred thirty-one years old we don’t always give it the respect and attention it deserves. In fact, a free press in the United States is something that i think many of us take for granted. We assume that if we need to know it, CNN or MSNBC or The Washington Post, etc. will let us know in big twenty point headlines and short, pithy, decible-breaking sound bites.
For Halloween in 2016, I dressed as a journalist with a notebook, 1940s hat, and press pass. I quoted Thomas Jefferson. I got a few nods and nice costumes, but it wasn’t just a cosplay or costume. I had been watching the 2016 election for more than a year, and what was happening from the Trump campaign was was distressing to me.
I can’t have been the only one to see what was happening in this country, but I felt as though I was screaming into the void.
After two years of this Administration’s trampling of journalists and the press, they’ve erased mention of a free press in the Department of Justice’s internal manual. This country was founded on basic tenets, none more basic than the First Amendment, and a free press to keep the government accountable.
Now, Trump’s Justice Department was chipping away at those basic tenets with a sledgehammer.
There are journalists around the world, trying to get the truth out, who are kidnapped, tortured, and killed. We need to shine a light on this epidemic, and the United States needs to go back to leading the way for the press to be free.
The Committee to Protect Journalists is one organization who shines the light and keeps the rest of us aware of what’s happening around the world.
Press Freedom is under threat – press release
Press Freedom is under threat – Mission Report. This includes a link to download the full report. I urge you to read it.
Free the Press: 2018 Campaign to Free Imprisoned Journalists: