Rep. Jamie Raskin: Free press is vital to protect democracy

Advocacy, Awards,

Jamie Raskin speaking

Rep. Jamie Raskin said journalists were essential to saving democracy around the world during his First Amendment Award acceptance speech earlier this year at The Watergate Hotel. 

“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered, but we have this saving consolation,” Raskin said. “The more difficult the struggle, the more glory in the end will be our victory. So let's make that victory ours for the truth, for freedom, and for democracy.”

The RTDNA Foundation selected Raskin (D-MD) for his tireless support for press freedoms during his time in Congress. Most recently, Rep. Raskin co-sponsored the PRESS Act, a federal reporters’ shield law that recently passed the House.

In his speech, Raskin quoted Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Anthony Kennedy and others to demonstrate the importance of a free press in a democracy.

“When [Lincoln] was asked about the relationship between constitutional democracy and the rights that are contained in the Declaration of Independence — life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, consent of the governed — he said, well, constitutional democracy is like a beautiful silver platter upon which rests the golden apple of freedom,” Raskin said. “It's our democracy, he said, that protects our freedom. So there will be no freedom without democracy and there will be no democracy without the truth and there will be no truth in society without the press. 

“So the freedom of the press is essential to save our democracy and democracies all over the earth today and to save the freedoms of the people everywhere.”

Watch his full speech below.

(Photo: BP Miller / Chorus Photography)