“First they came for the journalists ... after that we don’t know what happened.” While stated as a corollary to Martin Niemöller poignant poem, “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out ...”, it is an important concept to remember as the National Press Photographers Association proudly supports World Press Freedom Day 2019, a worldwide initiative to recognize and celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, assess the state of press freedom throughout the world, defend the media from attacks on their independence and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993 following the recommendation of UNESCO's General Conference. Since then, May 3 is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.
As part of the 26th celebration, this year's theme is “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation”, discussing current challenges faced by media in elections, along with the media’s potential in supporting peace and reconciliation processes.
In support of WPF Day, the NPPA is offering a membership discount for renewal or new members May 3 through May 5. To renew or join, go to nppa.org/join for a $20 discount. (The discounted amount will be applied at the end of the process to sign up.)
As stated in the NPPA Code of Ethics: “Visual journalists operate as trustees of the public. Our primary role is to report visually on the significant events and varied viewpoints in our common world. Our primary goal is the faithful and comprehensive depiction of the subject at hand. As visual journalists, we have the responsibility to document society and to preserve its history through images.”
In an age when visual images are subject to intentional manipulation and misuse, it is important to adhere to those ethics where “photographic and video images can reveal great truths, expose wrongdoing and neglect, inspire hope and understanding and connect people around the globe through the language of visual understanding. Photographs can also cause great harm if they are callously intrusive or are manipulated.”
This past week, NPPA participated and presented information on several of our initiatives during a program at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “Free Speech, Free Press or Free for All? Social Media and the First Amendment” and during “Quo Vadis Democracy in an Age of Disinformation?", a series of meetings in New York City with other non-profit organizations sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists. We were honored to meet with the parents of slain photojournalist Jim Foley, who advocate for the safety of journalists through the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation.
NPPA is also a partner with the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, which documents threats to press freedom across the country. The tracker is built on reports and tips by those who have been harassed, assaulted or arrested. If you have experiences like this, please submit a report here.
As the Voice of Visual Journalists, NPPA advocates for the rights of the press and public on First Amendment issues, copyright and the use of drones for newsgathering. We believe it is crucial to support the public’s right to receive transparent and reliable information and the concomitant right of the press to gather and disseminate information and images on matters of public concern. It is only through constant vigilance that those rights remain strong and free.
The NPPA is offering a special $20 discount to join or renew membership May 3-5, 2019.