ASJA Statement About the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment

Statement of the American Society of Journalists and Authors February 2017

A free press is one of the standards of American democracy. In the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the Founding Fathers guaranteed the rights of a free press and free speech. Any attempt to denigrate or suppress a free press and free speech is a threat to the concepts spelled out in the U.S. Bill of Rights. 

The First Amendment rights of journalists and free press liberties have come under attack recently. The more than 1,200 independent, entrepreneurial, professional nonfiction writers who are members of the American Society of Journalists and Authors will continue to defend the free expression of ideas. This includes defending against government interference in the ability of independent writers and journalists to do their jobs. Such interference includes restrictions on obtaining information—as defined under the federal Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. Limiting access to public officials through restricted press briefings; and politically motivated removal of information from government-sponsored Web sites would exemplify such interference.

We remain steadfast in our dedication to responsible, ethical journalism, and to writing thoughtfully, with integrity and adherence to the truth. We insist on the freedom to write fair, balanced, and accurate fact-based articles and books. We will not succumb to any attempts to censor writers or to lessen the power of the Fourth Estate.

ASJA has a long history of supporting free speech and a free press. The ASJA, with the assistance of our First Amendment Committee, speaks out against censorship and recognizes exceptional journalistic courage through the Conscience in Media, Open Book awards and other activities.