Sept. 21, 2022 - First Amendment Day marks a day to celebrate the document that allows all those who are in this country the freedom to speak freely, share ideas, worship (or not worship) their faith or religion, gather in support or protest of a cause or idea, and petition the government for change – all without government interference. It commemorates the day in 1789 when Congress sent the amendments that became the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights to the states for approval.
Today is part of Constitution Week, that this year runs from September 17th through the 23rd marking the two hundred thirty-fifth anniversary of the drafting of the Constitution of United States of America by the Constitutional Congress in Philadelphia and the signing of the document they had spent months negotiating.
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 236-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.
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 a time of divisiveness, 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 First Amendment Day and everyday 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 our rights remain strong and free.
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For more information contact: Mickey H. Osterreicher, NPPA General Counsel, [email protected], 716.983.7800