Nov. 9, 2018 – A reporter suspended from White House press briefings because he asks tough questions. A journalist murdered in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey. Pipe bombs sent to more than a dozen targets, including journalists and other workers at CNN. As these aggressive acts against the press continue in the United States and abroad, the leader of the free world blames the media.
We at The NewsGuild-CWA – a union of media workers in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada – are horrified by the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi Arabian consulate and the pipe bombs sent to CNN. We also denounce the exclusion of CNN’s Jim Acosta from White House news conferences and the administration’s use of a doctored video to justify that decision.
These attacks are among the latest examples of increasing violence against those who seek to inform the public. They are part of an effort to stop people from learning the truth.
At least 40 journalists in the United States have been physically attacked while on the job; four more were killed in their own newsroom, where another newspaper employee also died.
When journalists are killed or threatened, we mourn their deaths and pray for their safety. Such attacks also diminish the free press that is protected in this country’s constitution. And when politicians wrongfully accuse journalists of misdeeds, we stand with our colleagues.
The Communications Workers of America, on behalf of its members in NewsGuild-CWA and NABET-CWA calls on journalists and their supporters to contact their representatives in the U.S. House and Senate and demand that they use their voices and their authority to protect journalists and a free press. We demand that our nation’s leaders end the rhetoric that encourages evil people to act out their evil with impunity.
We understand that journalists typically don’t involve themselves in issues in the public realm. In this case, however, we are the ones being attacked. If we don’t stand up for ourselves and our profession, then who will? And if journalists are no longer able to spread the truth, then only lies will remain.
Last year, we sent an email asking you to defend the right to report. The situation has only become more dire as more journalists die and the attacks increase.
More than ever before, the best way for those of us in media to protect ourselves is by coming together and organizing for a voice on the job. Only by standing with one another can we not only defend, but improve, the profession we love.
Stand up for yourself. Stand up for your colleagues. Stand up for your profession. Defend the First Amendment. Do it while we still have one.