Day 22: Who Cares about Freedom of the Press? A Democracy!

“The only security of all is in a free press.” Thomas Jefferson, 1823.

Our free press is under attack.

DAY 22 ACTION: Learn about the importance of independent reporting, and support news outlets that are continuing to #PressOn!! Subscribe to a news outlet today.

People reading the news on a subway in New York, 1946. Credit: Stanley Kubrick (yes, that Stanley Kubrick).

Last week, Trump’s Chief Strategist and member of the National Security Council, Steve Bannon, told the press to shut up. “The media here is the opposition party.” (Bannon came from the Alt-right blog, Breitbart, which runs such headlines as “There’s no hiring bias against women in tech, they just suck at interviews.”) Trump himself has called the media scum.

When the White House attacks the press, we should be concerned. Free press plays a critical role in a democracy, informing people about community events and positions taken by elected officials. Press freedoms have been a part of this country since Massachusetts drafted the Body of Liberties in 1641. Freedom of the press is in the First Amendment, right there next to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to peacefully assemble.

When the press is not free, it can be used by totalitarian regimes to control the masses. Social media is used this way, too.

** Have 15 minutes? Watch this video of Christine Ammanpour, describing the increasingly hostile conditions for US journalists. **

The US has seen a consolidation of news rooms and a sharp reduction in investigative reporters. A 2016 press freedom index placed the US 41st in the world in press freedoms. We need to follow and support smart, responsible, independent journalism!

Today’s Action: Learn about the importance of a free press. Like Reporters Without Borders on Facebook. Pick a new news outlet to follow and consider paying for content.


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