On May 2nd, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA-30) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced a bi-partisan resolution in both the House and Senate highlighting the importance of the free press and condemning threats against members of the press. Rep. Schiff introduced the measure with six original co-sponsors, including Representatives Maria Salazar (R-FL-27), Hank Johnson, Jr. (D-GA-4), Steve Cohen (D-TN-9), Brendan Boyle (D-PA-2), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12) and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-At Large). Senator Menendez introduced the Senate version with six original co-sponsors, including Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and John Cornyn (R-TX).
The resolution, also marking World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd, draws attention to the many instances of threats and brutal actions that journalists have faced across the globe, including the recent wrongful imprisonment of Evan Gershkovich, journalist with The Wall Street Journal, in Russia as well the ongoing wrongful detention of United States journalist Austin Tice in Syria. The resolution declares that the House of Representatives “condemns all actions around the world that suppress freedom of the press” and “reaffirms the centrality of freedom of the press to efforts of the United States Government to support democracy, mitigate conflict, and promote good governance around the world”. The Alliance applauds the members of Congress for introducing this important resolution in an effort to prioritize the protection of a free and independent press.
Charlotte McBirney is Senior Counsel and Director, Public Policy for the News/Media Alliance.