U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown: Journalism is vital to our society

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 22, 2022

A free, independent press is vital to our democracy. It’s enshrined in our constitution.

We depend on reporters around the world to both tell the stories that impact our day-to-day lives and dig for those that might not be told otherwise.

Journalists are tenacious and dedicated. They ask the tough questions, challenge special interests and connect us all with our communities and our world.

Email newsletter signup

They put themselves in harm’s way to tell the unvarnished truth, unfiltered by government propaganda, at the times when we need it most.

And too often, that comes at a cost.

Increasingly, journalists find themselves under attack, arrested or targeted for reporting facts on the ground.

Some even make the ultimate sacrifice to reveal the truth.

In March, I spoke on floor about three talented, brave journalists who were killed while reporting on Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

Since then, at least nine other journalists have been killed in Ukraine covering the war.

In May, Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed while reporting on an Israeli military raid in Jenin in the West Bank.

And this danger isn’t something American journalists are immune from.

In September, Jeff German, a reporter with the Las Vegas Review-Journal was murdered for his investigative reporting here in the United States.

These are only a few of the journalists who lost their lives this year while trying to uncover the truth.

Since Mahsa Amini’s death on Sept. 16, Reporters Without Borders has found that “at least 42 journalists have been arrested throughout Iran.”

And the Committee to Protect Journalists reports that since the beginning of 2022, 60 journalists have been killed.

We remember those who lost their lives, and we recognize their unwavering commitment to the democratic ideals of truth, accuracy, and transparency.

A commitment so strong that they put their lives on the line – often putting truth before personal safety – to cover floods and hurricanes and the important stories from global war zones.

We have a better understanding of what is happening in the world today because of journalists.

Our thoughts are with the families, the friends and the colleagues whose loved ones were killed in search of truth.

But thoughts and prayers aren’t enough.

We also need to support efforts – both here and abroad – to hold those who kill and threaten journalists accountable.

That’s why the work of organizations like Reporters Without Borders, and the Committee to Protect Journalists are integral to ensuring our basic right to freedom of the press.

(…) I’ve called for the release of journalists unjustly detained in Egypt, Morocco and elsewhere and I’ll keep calling for justice.

We honor the memories and the work of journalists best by defending the freedom of the press and defending the right to free speech, protecting journalists in their pursuit of the truth and holding the regimes that attack journalists accountable.

Today, we recommit ourselves to that fight.

— Excerpted from Senate floor remarks on Tuesday

Sherrod Brown is a Democrat and the senior U.S. senator representing Ohio. His office can be reached at 212-224-2315.