NewtownPANow.com has joined with news organizations from Australia to Vermont to sign a statement condemning the recent murder of journalists in Maryland and calling for an end to dangerous rhetoric relating to journalists.
The statement sends condolences to the Capital Gazette news organization in Annapolis, Maryland, after five employees were killed last week in an attack at their workplace by a man who held a grudge due to the newspaper’s previous factual reporting. The statement also condemns the violence.
It also calls for an end of the anti-media rhetoric that has become more common in recent years.
“Journalists are not the enemy of the people … Their important role in defending and affirming the First Amendment, informing an engaged public, and protecting democracy should be honored instead of ridiculed,” the statement reads.
“As this country debates the place of civility, truth and accountability in our public life, journalists are on the front line, working every day to tell the stories of our communities and to shore up our democracy by helping to create an informed and discerning citizenry,” it further states.
Our hearts break for those who have been impacted. From Bucks County, we offer our deepest condolences to those who lost family, friends, and colleagues.@capgaznews #LocalNewsMatters pic.twitter.com/vOTHT0Ihiy
— LevittownNow.com (@levittownnow) June 28, 2018
“Our support of this statement not only is to condemn the murders of the five news workers who did nothing more than go to the office last week but to also call out the hateful rhetoric about fact-based reporting that has permeated our national conversation,” said Tom Sofield, publisher of LevittownNow.com and LevittownNow.com and NewtownPANow.com.
“Every single day for the five years and five months, hard-working reporters have hit the streets of Bucks County to get an accurate picture of the community for our readers. And that’s something we plan to keep doing” Sofield added.
Below is the statement LevittownNow.com and NewtownPANow.com signed on to:
We condemn, in the strongest terms, the deadly targeting of journalists Thursday at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families, and to all those affected by Thursday’s events.
In fact, we are all affected by these events. The recent anti-media rhetoric creates an enabling environment for violence against journalists and that, in turn, creates a new challenge to the key tenets of objectivity, independence and fairness which underpin the profession.
As this country debates the place of civility, truth and accountability in our public life, journalists are on the front line, working every day to tell the stories of our communities and to shore up our democracy by helping to create an informed and discerning citizenry. And yet, as they do their work with fewer and fewer resources, they are increasingly villainized (whether student journalists or veteran professionals.) This act may have been perpetrated by a lone gunman, but the social environment that has demonized journalists gave license to his actions.
On Thursday night, hours after their colleagues were killed and injured, reporters from the Capital Gazette were at a news conference discussing the events. They were not there as speakers – they were back at work, covering the story of which their fallen colleagues and their paper were the subject.
This is what journalists do. Journalists are not the enemy of the people. They should be raised up and protected. Their important role in defending and affirming the First Amendment, informing an engaged public, and protecting democracy should be honored instead of ridiculed. And at no point, should they be the subject of calls to violence or targeting.
We commit to living up to the legacy of the committed journalists who were gunned down, because a free, independent and safe media is essential to maintaining democracy.
Student Press Law Center
American Journalism Historians Association
American Society of Journalists and Authors
American Society of News Editors
Annenberg School of Journalism, University of Southern California
Associated Press Media Editors
Association of Alternative Newsmedia
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC)
Association of Health Care Journalists
Biola University Department of Media, Journalism and Public Relations
California Scholastic Journalism Initiative (CSJI)
California News Publishers Association (CNPA)
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Cape Cod Chronicle
Center for Democracy & Technology
Center for Scholastic Journalism
Central Arizona National Lawyers Guild
Central Michigan Life
College Media Business and Advertising Managers, Inc.
Collegian Media Group-Kansas State
Colorado Student Media Association
Connecticut Daily Newspapers Association
Connecticut Society for Professional Journalists
Equal Justice Society
First Look Media
Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp.
Free Speech Coalition
Freedom Forum Institute
Freedom of the Press Foundation
Government Information Watch
Henderson State University
Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Minnesota
Hudson Litchfield News
Indiana Collegiate Press Association
Indiana Daily Student
Innovation News Center, University of Florida
James Madison University School of Media Arts & Design
Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS)
Journalism Education Association (JEA)
Kansas Press Association
Kettle Moraine Press Association
Knight-Wallace Fellowships for Journalists
Los Angeles Loyolan
MDDC Press Foundation
Media Diversity Forum
Minnesota Newspaper Association
NAACP, Washington Bureau
National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)
National Coalition Against Censorship
National Press Club
National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)
New England Newspaper and Press Association
New York Press Association
New York Publishers Association
Northwestern News–Northwestern Oklahoma State University
Open the Government
Pacific Northwest Association Of Journalism Educators
Palo Alto High Media Arts Center
Peace Brigades International – USA
Press Freedom Defense Fund, First Look Media
Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA)
Record-Journal & The Westerly Sun
San Francisco Foghorn – University of San Francisco
Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law
Society for Collegiate Journalists (SCJ)
Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ)
Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)
South Carolina Press Association
South Carolina Scholastic Press Association
Southern Interscholastic Press Association (SIPA)
St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists
The Daily Aztec
The Daily Free Press
The Day (New London, Conn.)
The Deerfield Valley News
The Hawks’ Herald – Roger Williams University
The Keene Sentinel
The Newtown Bee
The Saturday Paper, Australia
The Spectrum – University at Buffalo
The Torch – Ferris State University
Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression
Vermont Independent Media/The Commons
Western Herald, Western Michigan University
Woodhull Freedom Foundation
Youth Journalism International (YJI)