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.”