Almost everywhere you look, the freedom of the press, the First Amendment to the Constitution, is disappearing. You may be asking yourself: “How does this affect me? Why should I care?” The answer is: The future of a free America is at stake.
Let’s go back to the beginning. America is newly founded. The Founding Fathers are at the helm. Together, they write the Constitution, in which the first laws are created. A few years later, they decide to add ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment safeguarded the right to exercise freedom of the press. Specifically, Amendment I states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”
In top of that America is toppling in the measure of how much freedom a country gives its press. The US placed 45th in the Press Freedom Index in 2018. It has dropped more and more as our current president is attempting to rule with total power. In a tweet, President Trump said: “The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly. Fake News Must End!” Mitt Romney, fellow conservative congressman and former candidate for President wrote in a USAToday blog: “It’s not the enemy of the people, it’s critical to democracy.” He goes on to say that while the press may be biased, it is a way to fact-check a government’s claims and that vilification of the press is totally unnecessary.
All around the world, journalists, media correspondents, and citizen reporters are being killed. Nearly 2000 since 1992. You may think that most of these deaths are brave war correspondents. The truth is that almost HALF of all journalist deaths are due to cold-blooded murder. Just a few months ago, Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi was tortured, beaten, killed, and dismembered, by the government of Saudi-Arabia to keep stories under wraps.
My question is, as citizens of a country that calls itself the land of the free, why is press freedom being taken away? In a country where press freedom is the base of nearly everything, truth is important. The truth is what keeps a country on its feet and successful. So when a country cannot balance, because the press is silenced, the only thing that comes out is darkness. So, ruthless dictators. Stop silencing the press. It is here to help society, and is here to stay.