RTDNA calls on federal officials to support press freedom

March 2, 2017 09:00

RTDNA, along with more than 80 other organizations, released a statement today affirming our support of the First Amendment, freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

The joint statement, developed by the National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Society of News Editors, condemns the efforts of President Donald Trump and his administration to demonize and marginalize the media, and to damage their ability to inform the public about official actions and policies by characterizing reports they dislike as "fake news." Its cites attempts to penalize and intimidate the press for coverage the President dislikes, including refusing to answer questions from certain reporters, falsely charging the media with cover-ups and manipulation of news, and denying certain media outlets access to press briefings. 

The statement reads in part, "Our Constitution enshrines the press as an independent watchdog and bulwark against tyranny and official misconduct. Its function is to monitor and report on the actions of public officials so that the public can hold them accountable. The effort to delegitimize the press undermines democracy, and officials who challenge the value of an independent press or question its legitimacy betray the country’s most cherished values and undercut one of its most significant strengths."

"The president and his team may not like what is said about them or their policies in the press, but pleasing government is not the job of the press," said RTDNA Executive Director Mike Cavender. "Journalists inform the nation about the actions of government and the impact of public policy. Citizens have the right to know what their government is doing on their behalf."

The statement calls on federal officials to acknowledge the vital role of a free press in a democratic society and the responsibility of government officials at all levels to respect it.

You can read the full statement here.