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Newspapers Stand Up for Press Freedom

Boston, Massachusetts —(Map)

Donald Trump has been fighting news groups since before he became president. Now many news groups are standing up for the “Free Press” – one of the most important ideas in the US.

Reporters raise their hands to ask Mr. Trump a question.
Reporters raise their hands to ask Mr. Trump a question.
Mr. Trump has been calling the press names since before the election.
(Source: U.S. Department of State from United States, via Wikimedia Commons.)

“The press” means people who report the news. “Media” is similar, but it can also mean the ways news gets reported, such as newspapers, TV, and radio.

Freedom of the press is one of the most important ideas in US laws. It is in the very first item of the US Bill of Rights. Freedom of the press means that news groups can say what they believe, and the government can’t stop them.

The First Amendment to The U.S. Constitution Monument in Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Freedom of the press is part of the first item in the US Bill of Rights.
The government can’t limit “the freedom of speech or of the press”.
(Source: Ed Uthman, via

Freedom of the press is important. Without the press, it would be very hard to know much about anything. It is the job of reporters to find the truth and share it. That does not mean that the truth is always pleasant or nice. Or that the president will like it.

Mr. Trump is not the first president to be unhappy with the way he is covered by the press. But many people believe that the way Mr. Trump is talking about the press is dangerous.

A Trump rally.
At a rally, Mr. Trump called a group of reporters the “lowest form of life”
In some of Mr. Trump’s other rallies, his supporters have yelled at reporters.
(Source: Hayden Schiff, via Wikimedia Commons.)

In a huge rally (meeting) of his supporters when he was running for president, Mr. Trump pointed to a group of reporters. He called them the “lowest form of life”. Because of the way that Mr. Trump has talked about the press, in some of Mr. Trump’s other rallies, his supporters have yelled at reporters.

Mr. Trump speaking into CNN and VOA microphones.
Mr. Trump has called CNN and other groups “Fake News”.
(Source: Voice of America, via Wikimedia Commons.)

When news groups report things that Mr. Trump does not like, he often calls them “Fake News”.

Fake news  does exist and it is a real problem. But most of the groups that Mr. Trump complains about do not report fake news. They research stories, collect facts, and try to report the truth. That doesn’t mean they never make mistakes. But making a mistake is very different than saying something that isn’t true.

In February, Mr. Trump called many news groups the “enemy of the American people”. Those words were a big shock to many people who believe that freedom of the press is important.

On February 17, Mr. Trump attacked many respected news groups.
He did not just say he disagreed with something they said.
He called them the “enemy of the American people”.

Marjorie Pritchard, who works at The Boston Globe newspaper, had an idea. She sent a message to other news groups around the US, asking them all to write an editorial to be printed today, August 16. An editorial is an article that shares an opinion.

Around 350 news groups from almost all US states liked Ms. Pritchard’s idea. They have written editorials in support of press freedom. Ms. Pritchard makes it clear that the point is not about political parties  or attacking Mr. Trump, but about supporting a free press.

Marjorie Pritchard asked news groups to write editorials supporting a free press.
Close to 350 news groups from all over the US are taking part.

For a look at a country that has a different idea about press freedom, read this article about media control in China.


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