The faculty of the School of Media & Journalism and staff of KASU-FM at Arkansas State University join the many voices petitioning our government, police forces, National Guard and persons engaged in protest to allow journalists to cover the events of our day without fear of injury or arrest.
To establish a “more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility . . . and secure the blessings of liberty,” the framers of our Constitution wisely established the freedom of speech, a free press and the right of people peaceably to assemble and petition their government for change in the First Amendment. They understood that the greatest tool against oppression is free expression.
Never has the need for union, peace, justice and freedom from fear and oppression been more important than it is right now. We must all stand together against racism, hatred, unprovoked violence and brutality toward our citizens, regardless of race, creed or color.
Citizens have the right to gather and protest against police brutality and demand a more just and equitable society. And journalists have the constitutional right to cover these stories and inform our democracy about these events and issues.
Journalists are members of our community who care about our society and are trying to find truths that bring greater justice and liberty to all. Their efforts of keeping us informed during this latest pandemic have been critical in protecting our health and safety. When they are not allowed to do their jobs, we all suffer. Those who would treat journalists as “the enemy of the people” are attempting to quash our basic freedoms of speech and of the press for their own self-interests and not those of the democracy.
To quote the Society of Professional Journalists, “It is our hope that the groups involved can find a way to co-exist, share their viewpoints, make sure everyone is safe, and cover these stories in a peaceful, mutually respectable manner.”
This statement represents the views of the faculty and staff and not necessarily that of Arkansas State University.
Director, School of Media & Journalism