On the final day of Free Speech Week 2017, on Friday, October 20, 1:30 to 3:00pm ET, RTDNA presented an important discussion on the First Amendment and reporters’ rights, hosted at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., and streamed on Facebook Live.
RTDNA, the National Press Club Journalism Institute, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and Reel Media Group co-sponsored the event, at which student and professional journalists had the opportunity to learn from media law experts and experienced reporters who have encountered legal or physical threats while reporting. The event was hosted at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
RTDNA’s Voice of the First Amendment Task Force, launched this year, has been tracking increasing vitriol against reporters working in public, which have contributed to verbal and physical harassment, and even arrests, of journalists who are merely doing their jobs.
“Journalists have a Constitutionally-guaranteed duty to seek and report the truth, and actions that prevent reporters from doing so are often unjustified,” said Dan Shelley, RTDNA Executive Director.
The panel included:
- Vikram Bhagat, in-house counsel at American Public Media Group and Minnesota Public Radio
- Ellen Crooke, VP of News for TEGNA and an RTDNA Director-at-Large
- Scott MacFarlane, Veteran investigative reporter for NBC Washington
- Paul Safier of the Media and Entertainment Law practice group at Ballard Spahr
"Now is the time for student and new professional reporters to understand how far they can go when it comes to finding great stories and getting answers," said Siegel. "It is our duty as journalists to know our rights and use that as power to dig deeper than ever before given the current political climate."
“We are delighted to be co-sponsoring this event,” AEJMC President Paul Voakes said. “It has never been more important than now to raise our students’ awareness of their First Amendment rights, both as journalists and as citizens. We’re fighting for the future of freedom of expression.”
"Good journalism means being polite and professional but persistent in the public interest. We're proud to host an event that supports young journalists do the work that supports democracy," said National Press Club Journalism Institute President Barbara Cochran.
Watch the video: