Athens, GA _ Constitution Day marks the date in 1787 that delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the document they had spent months negotiating. This day reminds us of and celebrates the unique system of checks and balances the framers established as our form of government.
The authors of the Constitution and Bill of Rights established and modeled a process for being part of something bigger than themselves, despite their deep differences. They also recognized the importance of having a lasting reminder of the values that guided their work to form a new union: the First Amendment.
Today, we face some of the greatest challenges to our democratic principles in our 234-year history. As visual journalists, it is vital to uphold the First Amendment by providing the electorate with truthful and informative images to ensure that American democracy remains healthy and strong.
As noted by the White House in its proclamation, “when our democracy is tested, we draw strength from the Constitution to see us through . . . our Constitution is the bedrock we build upon to make our Nation more equal, more just, and more prosperous for all our people.”
The NPPA Code of Ethics states: “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 the number of journalists assaulted, arrested, seriously injured, and interfered with by police and protestors it is more important than ever to protect and uphold those ethics and constitutional principles 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.”
As the Voice of Visual Journalists, NPPA advocates for the rights of the press and public on such things as First Amendment issues, copyright and the use of drones for newsgathering. We believe that on World Press Freedom Day and every day 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.
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For more information contact:
Mickey H. Osterreicher, NPPA General Counsel, [email protected] 716.983.7800