Reaffirming Our Commitment to Journalism After Capital Gazette Newspaper Shooting

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 By Justin Silverman, New England First Amendment Coalition

The New England First Amendment Coalition mourns the loss of five staff members at the Capital Gazette community newspaper near Annapolis, Maryland, who were killed by a gunman last week in a senseless act of violence. We convey our utmost sympathies to the newspaper’s staff and to the families and friends of the victims.

“Like countless other organizations and right-minded Americans, NEFAC unequivocally condemns all mass shootings,” wrote Justin Silverman, the coalition’s executive director, in a blog post today. “But as guardians of the First Amendment, we are especially saddened and concerned by this most recent tragedy because those targeted were journalists. In a very real sense, this hits home for us.”

Journalists, he wrote, provide citizens “the information they need to make educated decisions about their communities and government. It is a mission vital to our democracy and one that’s enshrined in the First Amendment of our Constitution. Sadly, the profession is challenged daily by low public support and, more generally, a lack of understanding about what journalists do.”

Silverman concluded: “As a country we need to reaffirm our commitment to the cause and support journalists like those at the Capital Gazette. We need to recognize the challenges faced by these reporters and editors as they provide us an invaluable public service. Most importantly, we need to push back against those who create these challenges and make sure our press stays independent, robust and safe.”
NEFAC is the region’s leading advocate for the First Amendment and the public’s right to know. Formed in 2006, the coalition is a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of an informed democratic society.

Our coalition is funded through contributions made by those who value the First Amendment and who strive to keep government accountable. Please make a donation here.

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