To our regional media colleagues
Many of you will have noted the recent editorial-writing initiative by The Boston Globe that has enlisted scores of newspapers across America proposing a coordinated response under the theme “The dirty war on the free press must end” to President Trump’s escalating “enemy of the people” rhetoric.
While we may not face the same rhetoric as US media, domestic regional news outlets in particular do face politically motivated attacks, ranging from threats of defamation lawsuits (including criminal libel in some jurisdictions) to economic pressure by the threatened or actual withdrawal of government advertising, all of which leads to self-censorship that is inimical to the concept of a free press enshrined in most if not all national constitutions.
“We propose to publish an editorial on August 16 on the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date,” The Globe said in its pitch to fellow papers.
As of Saturday, “we have more than 100 publications signed up, and I expect that number to grow in the coming days,” Marjorie Pritchard, the Globe’s deputy editorial page editor said.
The American Society of News Editors, the New England Newspaper and Press Association and other groups have helped her spread the word.
“The response has been overwhelming,” Pritchard said. “We have some big newspapers, but the majority is from smaller markets, all enthusiastic about standing up to Trump’s assault on journalism.”
Instead of printing the exact same message, each publication will write its own editorial, Pritchard said.
That was a key part of her pitch: “The impact of Trump’s assault on journalism looks different in Boise than it does in Boston,” she wrote. “Our words will differ. But at least we can agree that such attacks are alarming.”
Pritchard said she expects differing views from the editorials, “but the same sentiment: The importance of a free and independent press.”
Caribbean News Now will be joining this effort on August 16 by publishing an editorial highlighting the different but equally important issues faced by regional media.
We therefore invite regional publications to collaborate with us in this respect.
Caribbean News Now