Since its founding in 1946, RTDNA has supported and defended the First Amendment. In today's climate of distrust and amid growing attacks on journalism, RTDNA is renewing its commitment to speak out for freedom of the press by establishing the Voice of the First Amendment Task Force.

The goals of the task force include not only reacting to threats to First Amendment Freedoms, but proactively supporting journalists and educating the public about the importance of a free press to our democracy. The task force is a collaborative effort with broadcast and digital journalism companies, like-minded media associations and others to provide a vigorous defense for the First Amendment, news media access and to combat the growing vitriol toward journalism in the current divisive political and ideological environment.
 


Texas governor jokes about shooting reporters

Senate candidate who punched reporter in 1981 says he'd do it again

Congressional candidate allegedly 'body slams' reporter

Iowa judge sets tight rules in celebrity case

Tampa mayor jokes about firing weapon at media

Indiana judge bars broadcast of courtroom recording

FCC guards eject reporter for asking questions

West Virginia police arrest reporter for asking questions


 

Media companies, journalists, educators, students and members of the general public interested in supporting, or participating in the task force’s efforts, can contact us at pressfreedom@rtdna.org or call RTDNA Executive Director Mike Cavender at 770-823-1760 or Incoming Executive Director Dan Shelley at 212-246-0398.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


RTDNA CONDEMNS APPARENT ASSAULT ON JOURNALIST


A reporter was allegedly 'body slammed' by a Montana congressional candidate while attempting to ask a question. RTDNA condemned the assault and again called on political figures to end physical and rhetorical attacks on the press. Read RTDNA's statement here.

UTAH REJECTS TIGHTER RESTRICTIONS ON COURT RECORDS

Utah's Judicial Council was considering putting tight restrictions on the release of court records in dismissed criminal cases. RTDNA and other journalism groups objected and the Council voted against the proposal. Read more about it here.

FCC GUARDS RESTRAIN, REMOVE REPORTER FOR ASKING QUESTIONS

A credentialed reporter approached an FCC commissioner to ask a question, was pushed against a wall by security guards and ejected from the building. RTDNA joins the National Press Club urging officials to condemn both physical and rhetorical assaults on journalists. Read RTDNA's statement here.

 
PRESIDENT TALKED OF JAILING JOURNALISTS

In conversations with now-ousted FBI chief James Comey, President Trump reportedly spoke of jailing journalists for publishing classified information. Read more about the story and RTNDA's response.

RTDNA OPPOSES PRESIDENT'S THREAT TO END PRESS BRIEFINGS

RTDNA joined the White House Correspondents’ Association in opposing President Trump’s tweeted implication that he is considering ending White House press briefings. Read about RTDNA's position here.

“Responsible journalism that reveals facts to inform the public is not ‘fake news,’ Mr. President,” said RTDNA Incoming Executive Director Dan Shelley.

REPORTER ARRESTED AT WEST VIRGINIA STATE CAPITOL
West Virginia state capitol police arrested Charleston-based Public News Service reporter Dan Heyman on Tuesday, May 9, after pulling him away as he tried to ask a question of visiting Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Heyman has been charged with "willful disruption of governmental processes." Read more about Heyman's story here.

RTDNA, through its Voice of the First Amendment Task Force, has offered and is providing assistance to Heyman and Public News Service. RTDNA has condemned Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's remarks about Heyman's arrest.
 
 


Since launching the effort, RTDNA has reached out to a large number of leaders in the industry and other important constituencies to assess the level of the problem and to begin to form strategies that will ensure that the public’s right, and need, to know what is going on in their communities, their states and their nation is protected and thrives.
 
Spearheading the effort is RTDNA Incoming Executive Director Dan Shelley, who described the task force’s early findings recently in Washington, D.C., at a forum organized by the National Press Club's Journalism Institute as part of its press freedom initiative.
 
Shelley told the panel that RTDNA members across the country are seeing an enhanced level of public vitriol in reaction to the pervasive “fake news” and “enemy of the people” rhetoric that has become even more widespread since the 2016 presidential election.
 
Watch his full comments:
 

In response to the feedback the task force has received so far, RTDNA is putting together a plan to, among other things, help the public understand that journalists work hard every day to provide, according to Shelley, “outstanding examples of what I call responsible electronic and digital journalism.”
 

The RTDNA Voice of the First Amendment Task Force continues to seek input and develop its comprehensive approach to public education about the importance of journalism, and to combat in other ways the contempt that many elected officials and members of the public have for it. More details will be announced soon.