Friday, May 4, 2007

"So long as our government requires the backing of an
aroused and informed public opinion is necessary to tell the hard bruising truth."
--Margueritte Higgins

Those who put themselves in harm's way in a quest to tell the truth in the face of tyranny and mortal peril are unique and special people and they are deserving of our support. Without them, there is no free press, and without a free press, society can not be free.

Today is Alan Johnson's 53rd day in captivity. He was abducted at gunpoint in Gaza, and neither his family nor the BBC have heard from him since.

In December 2006, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1738, demanding governments around the world respect the safety of those in the media. Journalists don't want - they don't deserve - special treatment. They do deserve equal treatment. Journalists shouldn't be singled out to be silenced. That's why back in Gaza, Alan's colleagues in the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate have turned out in such numbers to demand his release. 14 foreign journalists have been kidnapped in the Gaza Strip since 2005 - so far, each of them has been released unharmed. But everyday, local journalists face harassment, intimidation, kidnap and worse.

I can not state strongly enough just how important the free press is. the founders realized the import full measure, however, as James Madison so eloquently stated, "The freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.'' Press freedom was specified and made law in the very first amendment to our Constitution. The press is the only profession outside government that is afforded such a Constitutional provision. It is truly that important.

The free press does not exist in a vacuum, however. It requires the support of an active and informed citizenry. If you are not active and involved now, get active and involved today. A good start would be to click the button beneath this post (or in the sidebar where it will remain until Mr. Johnson is free) and sign the petition. It is the least any of us can do for a man who went to the sound of the guns that the truth might be told.

Alan Johnston banner

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