AEJMC Presidential Statement on First Amendment Rights of Occupy Movement & of Journalists Covering It

Nov. 21, 2011 | The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) is committed to freedom of speech and the press in the United States and abroad. AEJMC supports citizens’ and journalists’ First Amendment rights in every city and every state, including in participating in the Occupy movement. AEJMC fully supports the Occupy protesters’ freedom of speech and assembly as a whole, and urges that journalists’ right—and responsibility–to cover these important matters of public concern be respected by all law enforcement officials. This is all the more compelling because other countries are closely watching how city, state, and federal governments handle the Occupy movement across the United States.

While recognizing the need for law enforcement officers to maintain public safety, AEJMC encourages public officials and law enforcement officers to work with Occupy participants and journalists covering their protests to ensure that basic constitutional freedoms are maintained and not encroached. The rights to protest and to criticize government are core values enjoying Constitutional protection. Additionally, the press must be allowed to freely communicate to the public information about these important and powerful demonstrations and the ideas they express. AEJMC reminds public officials at every level of government that as a nation we are and should be exceptionally committed to the often tested proposition that, as the Supreme Court of the United States declared in 1964, debates on matters of public concern remain “uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.”

For further information: Contact Linda Steiner, President, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, 2011-2012
Available at lsteiner@jmail.umd.edu
973-762-6919 (Nov 21-27). After Nov 28: 301-405-2426

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