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?
RONN MOTT: That Old Man River
I was surprised to learn the people in Cairo are now taking water taxis to avoid the traffic, the confusion and the dangers that are appearing on Cairo, Egypt’s, streets. I mean, I was surprised the people in Cairo, these native Egyptians, were surprised they could take a water taxi and get to where they wanted to go using the Nile River as a highway. So, for the Egyptians living in Cairo, everything old is brand new again.
EDITORIAL: A green idea worth pursuing
It sounds like a blue-ribbon idea.
READERS' FORUM: July 10, 2014
• Herb Faire a great success
• Appreciation for a ‘lovely angel’
• Thanks for stirring fireworks show
EDITORIAL: Be safe, be responsible
The Independence Day weekend brought a brief respite in construction work on area roadways. In particular, it provided needed relief to the congested segment of Interstate 70 in Clay County that is undergoing resurfacing this summer.
Readers’ Forum: July 9, 2014
• Don’t eliminate our six-day mail
• Zamperini death stirs memories
RONN MOTT: Black Dog
We had some excitement around our house the other day and it was not the good kind.
There was a small dog, black in color with a spiked collar on his neck, and he was the spitting image of a small Doberman. I don’t know if they have miniature Dobermans but this dog could have been a mixed breed that came out looking like a Doberman although smaller.
Readers’ Forum: July 8, 2014
• T-S ignores common decency
• Lighten up on Donald Sterling
• Time to reject Dems in Congress
• Fueling the EPA
MS. TAKES: Great music is made during all generations
Number Two son tells us that his 20-year-old son has been listening to “Big Band” music with apparent enjoyment. As if that wasn’t enough of a surprise, I was talking with a young girl, barely out of her teens and she told us that she really wasn’t into rap. She said, “It isn’t really music, it’s just talk.”
Readers’ Forum: July 7, 2014
• The moral issue is major issue
Editorial: City financial health demands an open, honest discussion
Obscured by the recent rift over use of departmental funds in the city of Terre Haute’s budget are serious issues related to our city government’s overall financial health. The answers may be mired in the complexity of municipal finance, but coming to grips with the situation is important to the city’s future.
Readers’ Forum: July 6, 2014
• Coats ignoring climate science
• Do those mustache posters exist?
• Utility rate freeze took determination
• What perversion is next in line?
• Opinions vary, but voters will decide
• This preaching must stop — now
• Golf fundraiser a huge success
Flashpoint: State’s lawyer has duty to represent state in marriage lawsuit appeal
Recent federal court actions that first struck down Indiana’s statute limiting marriage to the traditional definition, and then stayed that order pending appeal, have left many in our state in legal limbo. As the attorney who represents state government and defends its laws, I know this difficult case stirs many people’s deeply held beliefs that touch their lives in very personal ways. Not since my office had to represent the state in lawsuits arising from the State Fair disaster has a dispute been so seemingly impossible to address in a way that the public would accept as being fair to all concerned.
Flashpoint: The Supreme Court decision and ‘closely held’ corporations
The much awaited Supreme Court decision in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby came down this week. The court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the 1993 Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) does cover “closely held” corporations, even if those corporations are for profit.
RONN MOTT: Learning more about Jefferson
During this Fourth of July weekend, I’ll be reading John Meacham’s biography of Thomas Jefferson.
EDITORIAL: Celebrate your independence
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
As eloquent and declaratory as that statement is, implementing its principles has been a decades-long pursuit for these United States of America. Our nation, it seems, is the quintessential work in progress, even though what this country has created in terms of a stable, collective society is, let’s face it, pretty darn good.
- Readers’ Forum: July 4, 2014
RONN MOTT: The Men Who Made the Country
The Fourth of July is the day we celebrate our independence from Great Britain. It reminds me of something David Ben-Gurion would say, at a much later date, about British rule: “If you have to have a master, the British are about as good at it as anybody.” Of course, we really don’t need a master.
GREG ZOELLER: State’s lawyer has duty to represent state in marriage lawsuit appeal
Recent federal court actions that first struck down Indiana’s statute limiting marriage to the traditional definition, and then stayed that order pending appeal, have left many in our state in legal limbo.
Readers’ Forum: July 3, 2014
• Over the top on immigration
FLASHPOINT: HIP 2.0 gives consumers better choices
On Wednesday, the State of Indiana submitted its proposal for the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
MIKE PENCE: HIP 2.0 gives consumers better choices
Today, the state of Indiana submitted its proposal for the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
If approved, the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 would replace traditional Medicaid for low-income, able-bodied Hoosier adults. Unlike traditional Medicaid, which is government-driven, HIP 2.0 is consumer-driven.
Editorial: Texting law serves safety
July 1 each year marks the day in Indiana when new laws take effect. But rather than focus on new laws today, let’s observe the anniversary of a law that went on the books three years ago this month — the law that barred texting while driving.
- Readers’ Forum: July 2, 2014
RONN MOTT: Cats
Looking at the situation as a whole, the adopted cats, plus one, seem to be doing OK. The boys, Magic and Mellow, like to roam occasionally, which causes some consternation when they are gone for a long time.
LIZ CIANCONE: Oldtime fans will never give up on the Cubbies
My Best Friend claims to be the world’s oldest living Cubs fan. I am willing to take him at his word, but surely there is some long-lived fan out there in the right field bleachers who would dispute his claim.
Readers’ Forum: July 1, 2014
• Defying the laws of God
• Correcting the written record
• Hands of $$ from Redevelopment
• Celebrity visit for celebration
Flashpoint: New Healthy Indiana Plan our best option
Some state-run health care exchanges — the brainchild of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — have gotten off to a rocky start, to the point that they are turning to the federal government to pick up the pieces. Indiana’s decision to try to expand the already-existing Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) in lieu of an exchange seems a more prudent choice every day.
Readers’ Forum: June 30, 2014
• Don’t be victim of home repair scam
• Ending unfair tax practices
EDITORIAL: For kids, an immediate need
If you agree that not much is sadder — and potentially more unsettling to our society — than a child torn from his or her home, here is a way you can make a difference, one kid at a time.
Readers’ Forum: June 29, 2014
• The sexual revolution strikes again
• Country sinks to new lows
• Saddened by the headlines
• Opinions not same as facts
• Letter meets with approval
• The real ‘truth’ sometimes hurts
• Applause for great musical
• Raising minimum wage hurts us
• Gratitude to camp sponsors
• More to the city’s mosquito problem
- More Opinion Headlines
- RONN MOTT: That Old Man River