Who Documents Press Freedom?
Fresh off the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) meetings held here last week, in which our affiliates from around the world were in Phoenix, I was reminded about how important a free and open press is to our overall freedoms worldwide.
It’s not a new topic for us as we’ve written several times over the years about how important a free press is to democracy, including these posts: Press Freedom Must Ring and Freedom of Information is More Relevant than Ever.
I recently received a notification reminder from the Society of Professional Journalists about The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. Its website states that it is: “A database of press freedom incidents in the United States — everything from arrests of journalists and the seizure of their equipment to assaults and interrogations at the U.S. border. The Press Freedom Tracker documents incidents across the country, involving national, state and local authorities.”
Since its inception in 2017, the nonpartisan news website and database has been providing reliable and contextualized information on the number of press freedom violations in the United States. The site’s goal is to collect and disseminate information “about the state of press freedom in our democracy so that an accurate record is created and the public is informed.”
What we see lacking in various other parts of the world – including the Russian war against Ukraine — the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker’s constant vigilance and honest accounting of our country’s track record on press freedom is an essential part of our democracy.