Key House Subcommittee Hears Testimony on Fallen Journalists Memorial Act

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Provided by the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 4, 2019) – The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands heard testimony today on the Fallen Journalists Memorial Act, H.R. 3465. The Act would authorize the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation (FJM Foundation) to establish a permanent memorial honoring the sacrifices of journalists who have died while performing jobs critical to keeping democracy accountable and functioning.

Barbara Cochran, President of the FJM Foundation, testified before the Subcommittee and thanked members for their bipartisan support of the legislation. In her remarks she said, “The genesis of the Fallen Journalists Memorial Act stems from a long-time bipartisan working and personal relationship between Representative Grace Napolitano and her former California colleague, Representative David Dreier, who is currently Chairman of the Board of Tribune Publishing, and Chairman of our Foundation. Like all Americans, they were appalled by the deadliest attack against journalists in U.S. history when, on June 28, 2018, a gunman shot and killed five employees and wounded two others at the office of the Capital Gazette, the local newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. They collaborated once again on the idea of a national memorial that would demonstrate to our citizens and visitors from around the world that our country values a free press, honors the sacrifices of journalists and supports the family, friends and colleagues of the fallen.”

The Fallen Journalists Memorial Act, H.R. 3465/S.1969, specifically authorizes the FJM Foundation to establish a commemorative work on federally owned and administered land in the District of Columbia. No federal funds will be used to build the memorial. The legislation was introduced on June 25, 2019 by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH) and Representatives Napolitano (D-CA) and Tom Cole (R-OK) near the one-year anniversary of the attack at the Capital Gazette.

Cochran also highlighted the dangers journalists face in doing their jobs here in the U.S. and abroad. She said, “It is an all too frequent but unfortunate reality that reporters and photojournalists must often run toward danger when seeking the truth. That’s why so many have died while covering war and conflict, from Ernie Pyle in World War II, to Francois Sully, Larry Burrows and Dana Stone in the Vietnam War, to David Bloom, Michael Kelly, Elizabeth Neuffer and Daniel Pearl in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  It is also why so many have died around the world when the powerful wanted to silence them. Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Turkey more than a year ago. Anna Politskaya was killed after her reporting on the Russian war in Chechnya angered those in power. We must honor their legacy with a permanent memorial.”

The Fallen Journalists Memorial Act was reviewed on September 24, 2019 by the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission. In a letter to House Resources Committee Chairman Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Napolitano, the Commission “offered support for the purpose and need to establish a commemorative work honoring journalists who have sacrificed their lives as guardians of democracy and for a free and independent press.”

Cochran’s testimony concluded, “The FJM Foundation is grateful for the Subcommittee’s consideration of this worthy project, which will be a source of education, awareness and pride for our entire nation.  We welcome the opportunity to work with you to advance H.R. 3465 through the House of Representatives as quickly as practical.”

To read Cochran’s full testimony, please click here.

Related: Support a Memorial for Fallen Journalists (News Media Alliance resource page)


ABOUT THE FALLEN JOURNALISTS MEMORIAL FOUNDATION: The Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation (FJM Foundation) will work to enact legislation, raise funds and build a Fallen Journalists Memorial on federal land in Washington, D.C. that will pay tribute to journalists who have died while performing their jobs. The FJM Foundation will operate under the auspices of the National Press Club Journalism Institute (NPCJI), which is the non-profit affiliate of the National Press Club. Initial funding for the Foundation was provided by generous contributions from the Annenberg Foundation and the Michael and Jacky Ferro Foundation.

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