2021 Regular Session
By: Representative Banks
A RESOLUTION URGING PRESIDENT JOSEPH R. BIDEN, JR., TO AGREE THAT THE PRESS IS NOT A THREAT TO AMERICA, BUT ONE OF THIS NATION'S GREATEST PROTECTORS OF FREEDOM.
WHEREAS, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution states that "Congress shall make no law....abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press...," and, importantly, freedom of the press protects the right to obtain and publish information or opinions without government censorship or fear of punishment, and with a direct link between freedom of the press and a vibrant democracy, citizens are able to obtain information from a variety of sources, form ideas and communicate those ideas to the government; and
WHEREAS, an independent press ensures that citizens stay informed about the events surrounding them each day and actions of their government, creating a forum for debate and the open exchange of ideas; and
WHEREAS, on an individual level, freedom of the press is a means of participation, the vehicle through which individuals debate the issues of the day, cast their votes, and actively join in the process of decision-making that shapes the nation, and it serves the individual's right to join the political fray, to stand up and be counted and to be an active player in the democracy, instead of only a passive spectator; and
WHEREAS, the freedom of the press is critical to a democracy in which the government is accountable to the people, and the transparency that the press brings to important events decreases the risk of corruption and ultimately increases the safety of our nation; and
WHEREAS, information uncovered by journalists is often used to shed light on injustice, and responsible news organizations typically operate according to ethical standards, consulting with government officials before releasing sensitive information and refraining from publishing stories that would cause the public more harm than good; and
WHEREAS, Americans take great pride in all of their freedoms, and our nation still enjoys press freedoms that many parts of the world lack, such as journalists being threatened with physical harm or death for doing their job, but still, as of 2018, the United States ranks number 45 out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders, meaning that 44 countries, including Ghana, South Africa and Jamaica, have greater press freedom than the United States, whose freedom is enshrined in its most important document; and
WHEREAS, freedom of the press is fundamental to democracy in the United States, and because the press is free to report the facts, draw attention to injustice and appeal to the public's conscience, we as a nation are able to combat the serious issues that our nation faces each day:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby urge President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., to agree that the press is not a threat to America, but one of the greatest protectors of this nation's freedom.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to the members of the Capitol Press Corps.