Press organizations pledge to strengthen journalism community in World Press Freedom Day statement

May 3, 2017
World Press Freedom Day 2017 arrives at a time when press institutions worldwide are under siege from forces that are both political and economic.
 
Combined, these forces threaten democratic society as we know it. The same sweeping structural economic changes that have hollowed out so many newsrooms have produced widespread political anxiety. That anxiety in turn has given rise to scapegoating and kill-the-messenger-ism.
 
Bearers of what are often bad tidings can’t expect to be popular, but journalists cannot take a neutral stand on attacks against themselves. The survival of democracy depends upon a free flow of reliable information.
 
So as organizations that represent the working press we pledge to:
 
  • Join together in the spirit of craft guilds to provide each other with moral support (including defending our colleagues when attacked) and professional training to make us better guardians of free speech;
     
  • Remind our members that the mission of journalism is not to entertain but to inform the public. Generating audience should not be the primary goal of our work; serving our audience should be.
     
  • Look for creative and innovative ways to support solid, important reporting;
     
  • Get into our communities to hear new stories, build new sources and educate our audience about our role.
     
  • Remind the people that, when we do our jobs well, we are not their enemies but their best friends.
History teaches us that revolutions can create bold new advances for civilization, or produce meaningless destruction. We invite all of those who are in the midst of this information revolution to join us in ensuring that it produces more transparency, more democracy and a better world. 
 
 
Jeff Ballou
President
National Press Club
 
Barbara Cochran
President of the Board of Directors
National Press Club Journalism Institute

Mizell Stewart III
President 
American Society of News Editors
 
Jason Zaragoza
Executive Director
Association of Alternative News Media
 
Courtney Radsch
Advocacy Director
Committee to Protect Journalists
 
Joyce Barnathan
President
International Center for Journalists
 
Elisa Lees Muñoz 
Executive Director
International Women’s Media Foundation
 
Sandra Fish
President
Journalism and Women Symposium
 
John Donnelly
President
Military Writers and Editors
 
Sarah Glover
President
National Association of Black Journalists
 
Sandy K. Johnson
President
National Press Foundation
 
Melissa Lyttle
President
National Press Photographers Association

Joshua Hatch
President
Online News Association
 
Suzanne Nossel
Executive Director
PEN America
 
Mike Cavender
Executive Director
Radio Television and Digital News Association
 
Bartholomew Sullivan
President
Regional Reporters Association
 
Bruce Brown
Executive Director
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
 
Delphine Halgand
U.S. Director
Reporters Without Borders
 
Mark Hamrick
President
Society of American Business Editors and Writers 
 
Lynn Walsh
President
Society of Professional Journalists
 
Michael Winship
President
Writers Guild East