David Swartzlander

May the Swartz be with you

Category: Press freedom

Reporter arrested for – believe it or not – asking questions

In West Virginia, it must be illegal for reporters to question authority, especially federal authorities.

A West Virginia reporter was arrested for trying to get an answer from Health and Human Services Director Tom Price about whether domestic violence was considered a pre-existing condition under the Republican-backed health-care bill.

Or, as his lawyer puts it, he was arrested “for talking too loud.”

Silence isn’t golden

Despite presidential adviser Steve Bannon’s wish that the press “just shut up,” silence simply isn’t in the cards. That would mean newspapers printed with no front-page stories, TV news programs airing with no one in the anchor chairs, static on radio stations and only Viagra ads on news web sites.

Keeping their mouths shut is not what the press does. In fact, more than ever, it’s time to discuss the issues and policies of the new administration to determine whether, as a society, we want to continue in the direction of President Trump or decide to oppose. Remember, assembly and freedom to petition for a redress of grievances are two freedoms just as important in the First Amendment as freedom of religion, speech and the press.

Now more than ever, as E.J. Dionne Jr. writes in the Washington Post, it’s time to speak out.

A strong free press is vital, now more than ever

A strong, independent free press is the bedrock of democracy. When authoritarian leaders assume control, often the first action taken is to limit the free press. Knowing that government officials often lie, do you want to get all of your information from the government? Knowing that the script of a 30-minute TV news show fits on P. 1 of the New York Times, do you think you get the news you need solely from television? Democracy is interactive. You’ve got to want it. You’ve got to get involved. Here’s a start, read. Read this column. Continue reading. Learn. Educate yourself. A fight for a free press is a fight for democracy.

Pakistan, free press don’t mix

Pakistan not only is one of the most dangerous countries for journalist to practice their craft, it also censors news.

A victory for journalists

New federal rules restrict the federal government’s access to reporters’ work materials. Journalists should enjoy these small victories when they happen because they occur much too infrequently.

Confusing messages from Eric Holder

This N.Y. Times editorial accuses U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder of failing to practice what he preaches in terms of press freedom.

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