Last November, each of the presidential campaigns received a questionnaire about an issue seldom discussed on the campaign trail, but one crucial to our democracy freedom of the press. To date, only Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergDemocrats at debate criticize the candidate who isn't there: Mike Bloomberg Bundlers see fundraising problems for Biden Five things to watch in New Hampshire primary debate MORE has replied.
Where are the rest?
This is a trying time for journalism. Its a moment begging for new ideas to build trust, for a new tone to our discourse, for transparency over obscurity. A good place to start is with those who seek to occupy the White House.
Thats why we at the National Press Club Journalism Institute, together with the National Press Club, the Society for Professional Journalists and other industry partners,asked presidential candidatesfrom both parties to describe what a free press means to them, to define their obligations to the free flow of information, and to articulate their commitments to transparency. Bloomberg deserves credit for giving the questions serious consideration.
The Bloomberg campaign said the former three-term New York mayor wants the next president to be afirm and outspoken champion of the news media, has misgivings about the need for a federal media shield law and would restore regular press briefings to the White House.
Bloomberg, of course, is not a disinterested party. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, which includes Bloomberg News. Bloomberg Philanthropies is a donor to the National Press Club and the NPCJI. Widely respected, the news organization has nonetheless drawn flack for apolicy of not investigating Bloombergas a candidate and for applying that policy to the other Democratic presidential candidates.
The Institute submitted the same questionnaire to President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways: Fear of Trump hangs over Democratic debate Klobuchar raises million since start of debate Buttigieg, Sanders aim to build momentum from New Hampshire debate MOREs campaign as well, though his track record answers some of the questions, and his contempt for journalists and news organizations is a recurrent theme in his Twitter feed.
But over the course of the presidential campaign most other candidates have given only passing reference to issues of press freedoms.
At theDec. 19 Democratic presidential debate, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegFive takeaways: Fear of Trump hangs over Democratic debate Klobuchar raises million since start of debate Buttigieg after debate: I would be 'most progressive' nominee in party's history MORE took note of the presidents disdain. When the American president refers to unfavorable press coverage as the product of the enemy of the people, democracy around the world gets weaker, he said.
At the same debate, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharFive takeaways: Fear of Trump hangs over Democratic debate Klobuchar raises million since start of debate Buttigieg, Sanders aim to build momentum from New Hampshire debate MORE (D-Minn.) noted that in separate Senate Judiciary Committee hearings she asked Trump attorneys general Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsBloomberg has thoughts on press freedom; the other candidates should give us theirs, too Doug Jones says he will vote to convict Trump Senate Democrats outraise Republicans, but GOP has cash edge MORE and William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrRepublican senators call on Twitter to suspend Iran's Khamenei, Zarif The Hill's Morning Report Trump basks in acquittal; Dems eye recanvass in Iowa Trump 'apoplectic' in phone call with UK's Johnson about Huawei decision: report MORE whether they would imprison journalists for doing their jobs and neither gave her an unequivocal answer. My dad was a newspaperman, Klobuchar said. So this is not just talking points to me.
Meanwhile, Andrew YangAndrew YangYang hits candidates for acting like Trump is 'the cause of all our problems' Overnight Defense: Impeachment witness Vindman escorted from White House | Esper says Pentagon protects service members from retribution | Trump ousts EU envoy Sondland Watch live: Final Democratic debate before New Hampshire MORE hasproposed invigorating journalismand sowing news deserts with a $1 billion fund administered by the Federal Communications Commission to make grants to for-profit, non-profit, and local government entities to help support local news operations.
Good for them for addressing the issue.
It deserves more.
Its time to hear from the rest of the pack. Its time for voters to demand a commitment to press freedom. Its time to ask: Do you believe the president has a role in restoring faith in a free press and the checks it places on our institutions?
Record numbers of journalistsare being imprisoned abroad. Killings, miraculously down, still continue. In many cases, as in the coldblooded murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the responsible parties are state actors who make a mockery of justice.So we have asked the candidates how they would use diplomatic tools to promote a free press across the globe.
Wouldcandidates grant asylum to journalists such asEmilio Gutierrez Soto, who fled Mexico amid death threats from the military?Gutierrez' asylum claimshave twice been rejected by an immigration judge; deportation would mean returning tothe deadliest country for journalists.
At home, the last two administrationshave targeted journalistic sourcesas if they were spies. Forty-nine states have statutes or case law that protect reporters from revealing sources to government officials. Yet, the federal government offers no such protection.
Journalists working in the United States havebeen detained, their equipment confiscated, their homes searched. Federal agencies and the Supreme Court have limited information available to the public through the Freedom of Information Act. And journalists are routinelydenied access to government experts, no matter the subject.
Journalism is the key to an informed public. And in the end, only an informed public can govern itself. We need to know where the candidates stand. Its time.
Jim Kuhnhenn is a veteran Washington correspondent for the Associated Press and Knight Ridder who is now the Press Freedom Fellow for the National Press Club Journalism Institute. He is a former member of the congressional Standing Committee of Correspondents and a former president of the Washington Press Club Foundation. Follow him on Twitter @jkuhnhenn
See the article here:
- Jennifer Kohan of Fellowship Freedom Plans selected as Top Director of the Year by the International Association of Top Professionals - TAPinto.net - March 4th, 2020
- Schools must earn the freedom to make decisions, says Premier - The Sydney Morning Herald - March 4th, 2020
- LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Supporting freedom; part of the package; end death penalty - NWAOnline - March 4th, 2020
- Darmanovi on Freedom of Religion Act: No need for international arbitrage in Montenegro - European Western Balkans - March 4th, 2020
- Freedom Solar: record profits and growth in Texas residential and commercial PV - pv magazine USA - March 4th, 2020
- How Some Union Bosses Menace American Workers' Freedom - The National Interest Online - March 4th, 2020
- Ask a North Korean: can money buy freedom in the DPRK? - NK News - March 4th, 2020
- Freedom in the World 2020: Armenia and Artsakh rated as 'partly free' - - March 4th, 2020
- Freedom of movement could be retained in Scotland post-Brexit - The Scotsman - March 4th, 2020
- The Reverse Freedom Rides And Their Long Aftermath : Code Switch - NPR - March 4th, 2020
- Freedom boys hoops clips No. 1 seed Allen, is 1 win away from ending 44-year drought - lehighvalleylive.com - March 4th, 2020
- A Tweet Shows How Scared Gun-Control Activists are of Women and Minorities Enjoying Their Freedom - America's 1st Freedom - March 4th, 2020
- Sophie and Hans Scholl died resisting the Nazis. Let's not take freedom for granted - TheArticle - March 4th, 2020
- Tacky's Revolt review: Britain, Jamaica, slavery and an early fight for freedom - The Guardian - March 4th, 2020
- These Are the 10 'Most Urgent' Threats to Press Freedom in March 2020 - TIME - March 4th, 2020
- Submariners from HMS Vengeance and Bury sea cadets exercise Freedom of Bury St Edmunds with parade in town centre | Latest Suffolk and Essex News -... - March 4th, 2020
- You can't have both religious freedom and religious dominance - Patheos - March 4th, 2020
- The Presidential Medal of Freedom: Its Just So Beautiful - RushLimbaugh.com - February 9th, 2020
- Both Freedom teams clinch NWC titles they hope to win outright next week - Morganton News Herald - February 9th, 2020
- Democracy and freedom of expression are under threat in Brazil - The Guardian - February 9th, 2020
- The Classic Novel That Saw Pleasure as a Path to Freedom - The New York Times - February 9th, 2020
- U.S. Launches The First-Ever International Religious Freedom Alliance - Forbes - February 9th, 2020
- You Will Find Your Freedom : Has Netflix Renewed Season 3 of OA? - Union Journalism - February 9th, 2020
- Poetry, Walls and Freedom - The Wire - February 9th, 2020
- The latest assault on freedom of the press | TheHill - The Hill - February 9th, 2020
- Azaadiphobia: Who is Afraid of Freedom and Why - NewsClick - February 9th, 2020
- The Most Abused Freedom of Information Act Exemption Still Needs to Be Reined In - Project On Government Oversight - February 9th, 2020
- Freedom unifies the soul: Trump's State of the Union speechwriters have thrown in the towel - The Guardian - February 9th, 2020
- Trump says he will award Rush Limbaugh with Medal of Freedom - msnNOW - February 9th, 2020
- Case of Freedom Trail guides headed to the NLRB - The Boston Globe - February 9th, 2020
- Freedom Project: Play highlights civil rights perspective of black women - Meridian Star - February 9th, 2020
- Arts Wave partners with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to celebrate Black History Month. - WLWT Cincinnati - February 9th, 2020
- Taking the Freedom Out of Freelancing - Foundation for Economic Education - Foundation for Economic Education - February 9th, 2020
- The freedom Bobby Hurley gives to players is often criticized, but it might end up saving ASU's season - The Athletic - February 9th, 2020
- The basis of freedom - SC Times - February 9th, 2020
- The freedom in not knowing - The Boston Globe - January 30th, 2020
- 3 things you need to know about Birmingham's proposed Freedom Walk - Bham Now - January 30th, 2020
- Support school choice and empower families with educational freedom - Washington Examiner - January 30th, 2020
- Huber, Freedom want one more shot at wrestling in their own gym - lehighvalleylive.com - January 30th, 2020
- Freedom of Speech Doesn't Mean You Have to Be a Jerk Online - catcountry1073.com - January 30th, 2020
- No to Trump's apartheid plan. Yes to freedom and justice for the Palestinians - Haaretz - January 30th, 2020
- The True Cost Of Freedom Gas - Yahoo Finance - January 30th, 2020
- The long road to freedom - a giraffe is on the lam in Thailand - News965 - January 30th, 2020
- How An Enslaved Woman Sued And Won Her Freedom In 18th-Century Massachusetts - WBUR - January 30th, 2020
- Collings Foundation and FAA agree to temporary grounding of Wings of Freedom vintage planes - FOX61 Hartford - January 30th, 2020
- Sports: A Battlefield for Freedom of Expression and Political Change - besacenter.org - January 30th, 2020
- Jon Moxley '1000 percent' reinvigorated by creative freedom in All Elite Wrestling - WKYC.com - January 30th, 2020
- Melissa Martin: What happens when freedom of the press is silenced? - Cleburne Times-Review - January 1st, 2020
- Bagram's Afghan music night is the American base's other 'sound of freedom' - Stars and Stripes - January 1st, 2020
- Theros: Beyond Death Previews - Glimpse of Freedom and Sweet Oblivion MTG Arena Zone - MTG Arena Zone - January 1st, 2020
- Invest in Freedom: Support the Washington Monthly - Washington Monthly - January 1st, 2020
- Alabama's 200 years in 200 images: Freedom fighting from Iwo Jima to Selma - AL.com - January 1st, 2020
- Letter: Choice is simple freedom or slavery? - Northwest Herald - January 1st, 2020
- STORIES OF THE DECADE: Freedom boys hoops rallies to win 2013-14 state title at buzzer - Morganton News Herald - January 1st, 2020
- Freedom of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation - Royal Caribbean Blog - January 1st, 2020
- Ring in the New Year with Freedom Soup: Recipe - FOX 29 News Philadelphia - January 1st, 2020
- OSCE Representative on Freedom of Media welcomes release of Aseev and Halaziuk - Ukrinform. Ukraine and world news - January 1st, 2020
- STORIES OF THE DECADE: Freedom girls go perfect in 2015-16 for programs 5th title - Morganton News Herald - January 1st, 2020
- Press freedom situation yet to be satisfactory: FNJ - Khabarhub - January 1st, 2020
- Freedom of the Seas 2019 Live Blog - Preview - Royal Caribbean Blog - January 1st, 2020
- Freedom from 3Cs - The Indian Express - January 1st, 2020
- Freedom, Real Dividend of Democracy - THISDAY Newspapers - January 1st, 2020
- Economic freedom, not government programs, the key to poverty reduction - Orange County Register - Daily Gaming Worlld - January 1st, 2020
- Freedom Synonyms, Freedom Antonyms | Thesaurus.com - December 27th, 2019
- Byrne: Freedom from Religion Foundation needs to "stop forcing their ungodly, un-American views down our throats" - alreporter.com - December 27th, 2019
- Western Balkans Have Yet to Embrace Freedom of Information - Balkan Insight - December 27th, 2019
- Video: King Willem-Alexander addresses the Dutch public on Christmas Day, stressing the importance of freedom - Royal Central - December 27th, 2019
- Freedom to offend is a right and essential to democracy, says outgoing press watchdog chairman - The Sun - December 27th, 2019
- Of Concerns and Waivers: Religious Freedom and US Interests in Central Asia - The Diplomat - December 27th, 2019
- Climate tariffs on fracked molecules of freedom: German think tank wants to punish US for sanctions against Nord Stream 2 - RT - December 27th, 2019
- Weekly Wrap: Winter Solstice celebrations and responses | Freedom From Religion Foundation - Patheos - December 27th, 2019
- 'Freedom for All': Enes Kanter finally allowed to travel outside the U.S. for game - The Globe and Mail - December 27th, 2019
- The Colorado Springs Gazette: Happy Hanukkah, a celebration of freedom - coloradopolitics.com - December 27th, 2019
- True freedom is learning to love yourself | Opinion | Pittsburgh - PGH City Paper - December 27th, 2019
- Freedom Of Assembly - The Nation - December 27th, 2019
- A Trump sweatshirt and some thoughts on freedom - LancasterOnline - December 27th, 2019
- To Pay For The Freedom Dividend, Andrew Yang Says Our Mental State Matters To The Math - Forbes - December 27th, 2019
- Freedom Township man arrested after excessive speeds on motorcyle - Record-Courier - December 26th, 2019
- It's Official: 'Freedom Gas' Is the Worst Phrase of the Year - Gizmodo - December 26th, 2019
- In Punjab, the Legacy of the Ghadar Movement Continues to Inspire the Fight for Justice - The Wire - December 26th, 2019