Since the Bill of Rights was adopted to the U.S. Constitution in 1789, a free and unfettered press has been a symbol of the freedom we enjoy today in America.

Through the years, the American press has stood as an institution against injustice, tyranny and oppression and been a champion for those without a voice in our society. Newspapers have reported our nation’s struggles in war and peace and the monumental changes that affect our daily lives.

Through watchdog journalism, the American press is an effective mechanism of accountability in alerting the public to troubling issues that lead to policy changes and actions by lawmakers and public agencies that protect the public.

As a result of the First Amendment to the Constitution outlining freedom of the press, reporters were hunkered down in trenches with American soldiers in World War I and they waded ashore with U.S. troops on the beaches of Normandy during D-Day in 1944. They were there during the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and have been telling the stories of residents of York County since the forerunner of the Journal Tribune was first launched in 1884.

During our 134 years of operation, journalists working for the Journal Tribune have reported on the rise and fall of the mill towns of our coverage area and a resurgence of our local economies. We’ve kept readers informed about the Fire of 1947 that swept through the region, workings of their local governments, new immigrants to York County and an array of issues that matter to readers such as education, health care, transportation, taxes and the environment.

Yet despite decades of being respected and admired as a basic tenet of a free country, journalists today are being decried and labeled by the leader of the free world, U.S. President Donald J. Trump, as “the enemy of the people.”

From the earliest days of our nation, freedom of the press has been the bedrock and foundation for our liberty and a shining example of what makes America starkly different from any other nation throughout recorded history.

In nations ruled by corrupt and totalitarian regimes, ruthless leaders sensitive to scrutiny almost always make a move to take over the press, quash and suppress grievances and limit the people’s right to know in an effort to control public opinion and stifle opposition to their policies.

Today the Journal Tribune is joining hundreds of news organizations in publishing editorials that explain the importance of our free press.

Around the world, a free American press is recognized as a powerful tool countering the overreach of arbitrary government officials and those in power who would try to obfuscate the truth.

To be able to do its job effectively, the American free press must be able to exercise expression of opinion freely and to offer unhampered publication of news articles without governmental limitation or interference.

Freedom of the press is a right that many Americans have died defending and must be preserved for future generations as a link to our love for independence and our forefathers who envisioned a nation in perpetuity of liberty and justice.

Because we have been blessed with this privilege that so many in history have strived to achieve, American journalists must continue to represent all the residents of this great nation fearlessly and to stand as a watchdog to safeguard their interests.

All Americans everywhere need to demand that freedom of the press remains a treasured heritage of our society and a genuine legacy to pass down to the generations who will follow in our footsteps.

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 ext. 326 and by email at [email protected] 

 

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