Thomas Jefferson famously deliberated that he’d rather have newspapers without a country than a country without newspapers, and for good reason. An independent press ensures that citizens stay informed about the actions of their government, creating a forum for debate and the open exchange of ideas. It is one of the pillars of our democracy. Please take a moment to read the following statement from Anthony D’Angelo, APR, Fellow PRSA and 2018 PRSA Chair that discusses the value of a free press.
Megan Bulla, APR
2018 Public Relations Society of America – Hoosier Chapter President
From PRSA’s Chair: A Collaborative Statement on the Essential Value of a Free Press
The statement below was released recently by PRSA and eight other professional communication organizations to collaboratively express our support for the critical role of a free press and the First Amendment. With the unanimous support of your Board of Directors and staff leadership, it was done in concert with more than 200 newspapers across the U.S. who are today voicing, in their own ways, that ethical journalism, and freedom of thought and expression, are perpetually essential to democracy.
In today’s political climate, there will inevitably be charges that this statement reflects a political stance or bias. It does not. Rather, it affirms the U.S. Constitution and the values that transcend political parties and other affiliations; in fact, the statement is co-signed by the Global Alliance and other organizations with significant international representation that also subscribe to those values.
In that spirit, please feel free to add your voice to a monumentally important conversation.
“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and 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.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
This oft-cited quote conveys the fundamental importance of today’s free press despite its articulation before electronic, digital and social media were invented. The dramatic expression by a founding father who was brutally criticized by the media of his time underscores that the standing of a free press transcends politics, geographies or other affiliations.
Today we join with our compatriots in the news media to proudly affirm the Fourth Estate as a vital engine of democracy. Without it, and without freedom of thought and expression as provided by the First Amendment, informed decision-making is not possible and individual freedoms suffer. From a global perspective, journalism serves all people through ethical pursuit of the truth.
As organizations devoted to professionals across the communications industry, we are dependent on a free press, and rely upon it as we speak honestly and fearlessly on behalf of ourselves, our companies, clients and causes. A free press provides citizens access to information and opinions so they can make their own judgments.
We collaboratively declare our support for journalists who bravely seek the truth, focus on facts, and hold government, business and other institutions accountable.
Aberje – Associação Brasileira de Comunicação Empresarial, www.aberje.com.br
Public Relations and Communications Association, www.prca.org.uk
The American Advertising Federation, www.aaf.org
The Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication, www.bellisario.psu.edu
The Arthur W. Page Society, www.awpagesociety.com
The Commission on Public Relations Education, www.commissionpred.org
The Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications Management, www.globalalliancepr.org
The Institute for Public Relations, www.instituteforpr.org
The International Association of Business Communicators, www.iabc.com
The International Communications Consultancy Organisation, www.iccopr.com
The National Black Public Relations Society, www.nbprs.org
The PR Council, www.prcouncil.net
The Public Relations Society of America, www.prsa.org
Anthony D’Angelo, APR, Fellow PRSA, is director, Executive Master’s Program in Communications Management, Syracuse University. He is PRSA’s 2018 Chair.