Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press

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Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press  (1997) 
by Samuel S. Farr
Source: 1997 Congressional Record, Vol. 143, Pg. E2218 (November 7, 1997). www.gpo.gov. Congressman Sam Farr. United States House of Representatives. Section: Extensions of Remarks.


FREEDOM OF SPEECH, FREEDOM OF THE PRESS


HON. SAM FARR

OF CALIFORNIA
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Friday, November 7, 1997

FREEDOM OF SPEECH, FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

Mr. FARR. Mr. Speaker, I want to address the House for a time about the sanctity of one of America's most treasured rights: the freedom of speech.

Freedom of speech is central to most every other right that we hold dear in the United States and serves to strengthen the democracy of our great country.

It is unfortunate, then, when actions occur that might be interpreted as contrary to this honored tenet.

Currently there is a dispute between journalists in my district and the new owners of the Monterey County Herald newspapers. All employees of the newspaper were required to reapply for their jobs when the new owners took over the paper. Several of the employees—some of them prize-winning journalists—were not rehired.

This action has left many in the community feeling that the newspaper is acting unfairly toward the reporters and fearing that it will affect the tenor of the news reported. Further there are suspicions that the owners may be engaging in antiunion efforts, casting further pall on the ability of the paper to serve the reading public.

I urge every American—no matter the position they hold in this society of ours—to carefully consider the actions they take when those actions concern the dissemination of public information. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are much too powerful rights to be lost to squabbles over the union or nonunion status of employees. They are too basic to the structure and fabric of American life to fall victim to bottom line dollar equations.

I know the fired employees and the new owners of the Herald continue to negotiate over this matter. I am hopeful that the two sides can come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement that leaves the journalists reporting, the paper profiting, and the reading public informed.

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This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).