We All Need to Protect Journalists

Albany, NY – Assemblymember Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) introduced a Resolution proclaiming the month of May as Journalist Protection Month: “New York has been the home of journalistic freedom since the days of John Peter Zenger. It is time for every elected representative to stand up for the rights and safety of those who report the news. Unprecedented attacks on a free press demand such action!”

New York State has a long history of fighting for the rights of journalistic freedom and was home of such trailblazers as Jane Swisshelm, Margaret Fuller, Nellie Bly, Marie Colvin and Dorothy Thompson, who was often referred to as the First Lady of American Journalism. Other legends such as Edward R. Murrow, Eric Sevareid, William Cullen Bryant and Walter Cronkite were also New Yorkers.

For President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who also served as New York Governor and State Senator, “Freedom of conscience, of education, of speech, of assembly are among the very fundamentals of democracy and all of them would be nullified should freedom of the press ever be successfully challenged.”

Organizations such as the Committee to Protect Journalists, headquartered in New York, have made it their mission to advocate for the defense of journalistic freedom and the right to report the news without the fear of reprisal. Tragically, in 2018, at least 63 journalists were killed while doing their jobs and, painful as it may be to imagine, the United States has for the first time ever been added to the list of most dangerous countries for journalists.

“It is critical that we as Americans do all that we can to respect and protect the rights of journalists in our country and across the world,” Lavine said. “That is why I have submitted a resolution to officially recognize the month of May as Journalist Protection Month. If we stand idly by as reporters lose their freedom, we will all lose our freedom. That is not what America is all about and it is not what New York is all about.”

Assemblymember Charles Lavine represents New York’s 13th Assembly District. He presently serves as Chairman of the Committee on Election Law and is a member of the Committees on Ethics and Guidance, Codes, Rules, Insurance, and Judiciary.