The importance of Freedom of the Press

FIUSM Editorial Staff

Journalists have an important role in activism and instigating change and we should not be barred from doing our job. This is what happened to student journalists during the conflict at the University of Missouri.

At Mizzou, the First Amendment rights of student journalists and activists clashed Nov. 9. Students and faculty alike worked to suppress and remove a student journalist from a protest led by Concerned Student 1950, a group working to end racial hostility at the university through peaceful protest.

Melissa Click, a communications professor, called for the removal of a student journalist trying to cover the protest.

Much of the problem seems to stem from the concern for privacy and that student media at Mizzou might present the protests from a negative angle.

However, as journalists it is not our job to frame stories in a positive or negative light. Our jobs are to seek out the truth and present it to the public so that they may choose what to do with it.

Although this is not always the case for all publications which claim to be journalistic, and although each publication has its own biases, banning the presence of journalists does little for activism other than cutting it off from the public eye.

As journalists for FIUSM, we would be angered if a situation like what had occurred in Mizzou were to occur on campus. We are dedicated to providing students with the information they need to not only navigate campus life but also to exercise their voice when they feel faced with injustice.

To bar journalists from truth seeking and gathering information would be disheartening for us, but would ultimately be a disservice to the public.

Freedom of the press is an important right for the public. Without press, individuals would not learn about the world around them from an unbiased viewpoint. Misinformation could easily be spread by those who simply don’t understand the importance of investigating and fact checking. The public’s voice would also go unheard or even silenced.

As journalists, we have a duty to provide the truth to readers.

[Image from Flickr]

1 Comment on "The importance of Freedom of the Press"

  1. Great article – I agree 100%.

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