MRE Speaks Out for Press Freedom

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2017–Military Reporters and Editors, the preeminent membership organization for media professionals in the national security field, joined with other leading press organizations on World Press Freedom Day to speak out on behalf of the media worldwide.

“Journalists and journalism are increasingly under siege,” said John M. Donnelly, MRE’s new president. “Reporters worldwide are too often threatened, harassed, jailed and even killed. In the United States, the president has called the press ‘the enemy of the people.’ MRE will make its voice heard inside the Pentagon and beyond–either alone or with like-minded media groups–to defend press freedom and journalists’ access.”

The statement and signatories are below.

World Press Freedom Day 2017


CONTACT: Kathy Kiely, NPCJI Press Freedom Fellow

WASHINGTON, DC – May 3, 2017 World Press Freedom Day 2017 arrives at a time when press institutions worldwide are under siege from forces that are both political and economic.

Combined, these forces threaten democratic society as we know it. The same sweeping structural economic changes that have hollowed out so many newsrooms have produced widespread political anxiety. That anxiety in turn has given rise to scapegoating and kill-the-messenger-ism.

Bearers of what are often bad tidings can’t expect to be popular, but journalists cannot take a neutral stand on attacks against themselves. The survival of democracy depends upon a free flow of reliable information.

So as organizations that represent the working press we pledge to:

  • Join together in the spirit of craft guilds to provide each other with moral support (including defending our colleagues when attacked) and professional training to make us better guardians of free speech;
  • Remind our members that the mission of journalism is not to entertain but to inform the public. Generating audience should not be the primary goal of our work; serving our audience should be.
  • Look for creative and innovative ways to support solid, important reporting;
  • Get into our communities to hear new stories, build new sources and educate our audience about our role.
  • Remind the people that, when we do our jobs well, we are not their enemies but their best friends.

History teaches us that revolutions can create bold new advances for civilization, or produce meaningless destruction. We invite all of those who are in the midst of this information revolution to join us in ensuring that it produces more transparency, more democracy and a better world.

  • John Donnelly
    Military Reporters & Edtiors
  • Jeff Ballou
    National Press Club
  • Barbara Cochran
    President of the Board of Directors
    National Press Club Journalism Institute
  • Mizell Stewart III
    American Society of News Editors
  • Yvonne Leow
    National President
    Asian American Journalists Association
  • Jason Zaragoza
    Executive Director
    Association of Alternative News Media
  • Courtney Radsch
    Advocacy Director
    Committee to Protect Journalists
  • Joyce Barnathan
    International Center for Journalists
  • Elisa Lees Muñoz
    Executive Director
    International Women’s Media Foundation
  • Sandra Fish
    Journalism and Women Symposium
  • Sarah Glover
    National Association of Black Journalists
  • Sandy K. Johnson
    National Press Foundation
  • Melissa Lyttle
    National Press Photographers Association
  • Joshua Hatch
    Online News Association
  • Suzanne Nossel
    Executive Director
    PEN America
  • Mike Cavender
    Executive Director
    Radio Television and Digital News Association
  • Bartholomew Sullivan
    Regional Reporters Association
  • Bruce Brown
    Executive Director
    Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
  • Delphine Halgand
    U.S. Director
    Reporters Without Borders
  • Mark Hamrick
    Society of American Business Editors and Writers
  • Lynn Walsh
    Society of Professional Journalists
  • Michael Winship
    Writers Guild of America East