On World Press Freedom Day (which was May 3), the National Society of Newspaper Columnists stands in solidarity with journalists across the globe, particularly those who risk their safety to tell the stories the public needs to know.
Targeting of journalists happens here in the United States as well. The Committee to Protect Journalists report that 11 journalists have been killed in this country since 1992; four were killed in 2018 alone. Eight were outright targeted because of their work.
On World Press Freedom Day, in addition to freedom of speech and expression, we reaffirm our commitment to two more freedoms: Freedom from fear: no journalist should fear for their safety or worry about reprisals for reporting the truth or expressing an evidence-based opinion. Being contrarian is a hallmark of opinion journalism and we stand with those columnists who dare to test new propositions in their writing. Freedom from want: journalists should be paid fairly for their labor and for the risks they take. We particularly support columnists and opinion writers whose craft is undervalued while news outlets jettison entire opinion departments or lay off so many columnists that the department’s future is uncertain.
We understand that some of the public has grown skeptical of journalism and we will continue to work to maintain public trust in our profession, laboring under the belief that a free press is more about the public’s right to know the truth than it is about our right to tell it.
Vice president, National Society of Newspaper Columnists
Nationally syndicate columnist at Creator’s Syndicate