Editorial: Celebrating the freedom of the press

The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction): This is Colorado Journalism Week, a time to celebrate and honor the essential role the working press performs in a free and open society. Gov. John Hickenlooper issued a proclamation to that effect for the week of April 16-22 during the Colorado Press Association’s annual convention last weekend.

The governor invoked the words of the nation’s fourth president, James Madison: “A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives … an informed constituency is essential to a healthy democracy.”

And President Thomas Jefferson once said: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”

Jefferson’s choice of newspapers over government reflected the Founding Fathers’ desire to give freedom of speech and the press a prominent place in the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. They understood that journalism was necessary to have an informed public and a well-functioning democratic system.

Lately, though, the press — now more accurately referred to as “the media” — seems to be increasingly under attack. The words “fake news” tend to be thrown out whenever people disagree with something they read or see, regardless of whether the information presented is factual or not.

Visit The Daily Sentinel for more.

Subscribe to Our Blog