May 3 is World Press Freedom Day.
To most people, it’s probably just another day — but for those of us in the profession of journalism, this is an important day.
I publish this online newspaper, HuntingtonNow.com, because it allows me to help keep you informed — from news about town government to Covid-19 updates to school events and businesses. It is a privilege to do so.
The public’s relationship with the press has always had its ups and downs. Ever since its invention, the printing press has been controversial. It makes sense. Information informs us — and also unnerves those who’d keep the truth hidden.
We are protected by the US Constitution, for a reason.
The founders couldn’t have imagined the world we live in. But they protected freedom of the press because they’d seen firsthand what unchecked power will do. We, along with hundreds of other local journalism sites, were included in a story published Monday by The New York Times on the value of local journalism, because what we do matters.
A world without press freedom is one where government officials imprison journalists (or worse) for reporting on civil rights protests. It’s one where scammers or polluters enrich themselves without oversight. It’s one where you find out too late about, say, the risks of a pandemic. It’s where people make deals behind your back, hoping you won’t notice, as you go about your busy lives.
If our journalism has ever informed or helped you, please make a contribution in honor of World Press Freedom Day.