ARLINGTON, Va. —
Where would we be as a nation without the freedom of speech?
After all, according to the annual State of the First Amendment survey, it is by far America’s favorite freedom and our most important right. In that survey, 47 percent voted for free speech, compared with 10 percent for the next closest right, freedom of religion. It is only appropriate that we dedicate a week to celebrating free speech.
The freedom to express ourselves and speak our minds is an inextricable part of a strong democracy. When you have a government directed by its citizens, it is critical that those citizens be engaged and informed. Indeed, our founding fathers recognized the critical need for the free flow of information.
It is equally important that citizens have the freedom and the avenue to challenge the government and its representatives, discuss key issues, and be absolutely assured that their voices are heard.
Newspapers provide that avenue and self-expression through guest opinion pieces and letters to the editor. We recognize the importance of publishing a diversity of viewpoints, as we only grow as a country and effectively address difficult issues if a variety of expertise, facts and opinions are shared.
Today, social media have been heralded as among the greatest platforms for free speech and self-expression. Anyone can post whatever they want at their convenience, and it lives online for the whole world to see.
But when it comes to important matters, where citizens want to make sure that their thoughts and expertise are considered by the public and leaders alike, newspapers provide the platform to reach their community and influence their leaders.
We see this again and again, most recently when Vladimir Putin and John McCain spoke directly to Americans and Russians by going straight to newspapers. As they demonstrated, it’s an effective strategy to capture attention and state your position — whether you are a global leader or a small-town worker.
Years ago, newspapers were the only reliable way to disseminate information to a wide audience. Thanks to the Internet, our society has become inundated with information from many sources. The Internet plays a critical role in the delivery of newspaper media and newspapers remain the trusted source in communities, large or small, that cut through the clutter with the news that you need to know.
Newspapers remain the reliable way to reach the American public. Our circulation revenue is up and our readership is growing, because today, more than ever, people need a news source they can trust.
Our right to accurate news and to know the truth about what is going on is very closely tied to our right to free speech and our freedom to challenge leaders and institutions on their practices. Newspapers are a key channel for that information. Investigative journalists constantly serve as public watchdogs, uncovering everything from governmental procedures to unsafe factory conditions.
Newspapers inform the public of important stories. As we learn from others’ expertise and understand important issues, we are empowered to speak up, take a stand and create change.
In America, we have the right to publish negative stories and to realize what is really going on. We have the right to push for change and play an active role in our country. We have the freedom to express ourselves and the assurance that our voices will be heard.
We celebrated Free Speech Week this past week because we celebrate free speech every day.
Caroline Little is president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America in Arlington, Va.
ARLINGTON, Va. —
Where would we be as a nation without the freedom of speech?
Readers’ Forum: March 10, 2014
Our government’s heart and soul
A plea for more give and take
Readers’ Forum: March 9, 2014
Mardi Gras great event for Swope
EPA regs will cause energy bills to soar
Please pray for Ukraine innocents
Sinful thinking on road to hell
Liberty — or licentiousness
People will not always agree
Botched chance at leadership
- Readers’ Forum: March 7, 2014
Readers’ Forum: March 6, 2014
Utilities do need tighter regulation
Great work by TV sports staff
- Readers’ Forum: March 5, 2014
Readers’ Forum: March 4, 2014
Lunatic ravings of the far right
Let IRS take the bullying pledge
Readers’ Forum: March 3, 2014
Social workers honor profession
Readers’ Forum: March 2, 2014
Candle still burns at St. Ann’s Clinic
Thanks to all at Sarah Scott
How should we define marriage?
An argument of science and law
Chance to expand your knowledge
Excellent service from paper carrier
Central time zone makes more sense
Summer adult baseball league for all ages
Recognizing that all people matter
More selfish opposition to Common Core
- Readers’ Forum: Feb. 28, 2014
READERS' FORUM: Feb. 27, 2014
• Unfair criticism of electric utility
- Readers' Forum: Feb. 26, 2014
Readers’ Forum: Feb. 25, 2014
Group to rival The Beatles?
HJR-3 opponents afraid of the truth
Readers’ Forum: Feb. 24, 2014
Declaration of specific gender should never occur
Say no to alcohol at the State Fair
Protect yourself against bad food
Warm appreciation for support staff
Merit in approach
READERS' FORUM: Feb. 23, 2014
• A specimen of bad policy
• And up it goes
• It is past time to talk about rape, sex assault
• Religion is best spread peacefully
• Fugitive thoughts on a winter day
• America taking steps backward
• Being respectful, not anonymous
• Kind help on a cold morning
• Let us throw another stone on the pile
FLASHPOINT: Local control over the business personal property tax good option
I have a tremendous respect for Indiana’s local leaders.
FLASHPOINT: Did legislators place bad bet on Common Core?
A comedian once observed that the reason they call it “horse sense” is because horses don’t bet on people.
- Readers' Forum: Feb. 21, 2014
READERS' FORUM: Feb. 20, 2014
• Take another look at Terre Haute
• The state that adapts, adopts
- READERS' FORUM: Feb. 19, 2014
Readers’ Forum: Feb. 18, 2014
Founders were indeed ‘devout’
Firm definition is what we need
All handouts equal
Readers’ Forum: Feb. 17, 2014
Utility billing process unfair
Voters must demand court information
FLASHPOINT: Manufactured statistics, exaggerated claims make meth battle more difficult
Indiana has many societal problems. One of the most serious is the use of methamphetamine. Meth destroys families, ruins lives and costs taxpayers millions of dollars in law enforcement and meth cleanup efforts.
READERS FORUM: Feb. 16, 2014
• Wrong direction on income issues
• Vet, staff at Brown gave caring service
• Worried about governor’s words
• Drying up stream of public support
• We have passed the tipping point
• Making sure the poor get poorer
• It’s all relative
• Support needed for Catholic school
• Great response from center
- READERS' FORUM: Feb. 14, 2014
READERS FORUM: Feb. 13, 2014
• Expressing thanks for helping students
Readers’ Forum: Feb. 12, 2014
• Sandbagging the time zone issue in Indiana
• Learning, excelling at McLean school
Readers’ Forum: Feb. 11, 2014
Dangerous path was set long ago
Right approach on meth abuse
Readers’ Forum: Feb. 10, 2014
Define marriage and get it right
FLASHPOINT: Study dissects tough tax issues on business equipment, machinery
Indiana’s Legislature first got serious about eliminating personal property taxes in 1966, when Hoosiers approved a constitutional amendment separating taxes on property and personal property.
READERS FORUM: Feb. 9, 2014
• In praise of the CVS decision
• All pharmacies should follow CVS
• Stop canned deer hunts from becoming legal
• When judgment is vindicated
• American kids are behind in learning
• Donate healthy foods to the ‘Y’
• Be skeptical with facts concerning sex assaults
- More Letters Headlines
- Readers’ Forum: March 10, 2014