As World Press Freedom Day – May 3 – approaches, journalists are launching a campaign to protect the Right to Report, says NewsGuild-CWA President Bernie Lunzer. He is urging all those who treasure freedom of the press to sign a petition and join the fight to protect this treasured right.
Threats to freedom of the press abound:
- News organizations are being excluded from press briefings and denied access to high-ranking government officials.
- The White House is refusing to release visitors’ logs.
- Journalists have been arrested while covering protests in Ferguson, Standing Rock and on Inauguration Day.
- Responses to Freedom of Information Act requests are delayed, often for years, at the local, state and federal levels.
- The president demonizes reporters, calling them “enemies of the people.”
- An army of operatives – foreign and domestic – spreads fake news.
But something else is happening as well, Lunzer noted.
“Journalists are persevering. They’re asking questions. Reporting the facts. Finding connections,” he said.
“And people are paying attention” he added. “After years of shrinking newsrooms, many media outlets are hiring reporters, subscriptions are increasing, and ratings for TV news programs are soaring.
“Journalists are essential to democracy,” Lunzer wrote in an email about the campaign. “They are witnesses to events around the world who record history as it happens. To do that, they must have unfettered access to events ranging from White House news conferences to protests.”
The campaign will fight threats to press freedom and advocate for the right to report. Lunzer said he expects the campaign to last at least a year.
He urged supporters to sign the petition and visit the Right to Report website frequently.
Stand up for freedom of the press!