Jason Stverak, President of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, a national leading organization on nonprofit journalism, released the following statement concerning a Michigan lawmaker introducing legislation to license reporters to ensure they’re credible and vet them for “good moral character.”
“By introducing a bill to license journalists, Michigan State Senator Bruce Patterson is attempting to control the press and is stepping on constitutional protections. There is a reason why this is a single sponsored bill and has not received much support in the legislature.
Sen. Patterson must realize that journalism is being forced to adapt to new economic realities and that means allowing new journalism organizations to fill in where the traditional media is lacking. An American Journalism Review study found that only 355 full-time newspaper reporters still are based state capitols; 44 statehouses have fewer full-time reporters than they did six years ago.
And while traditional media lays off staff and fails to meet the needs of the public, Americans are demanding more government transparency and the exposure of waste, fraud and abuse. The American public is calling for ethics and responsibility from those who spend their hard-earned tax dollars. But without journalists, politicians and elected officials have too many opportunities to deceive, misuse and exploit their own interests over those of their constituents.
Our country needs more watchful eyes on our elected officials, not legislation that outlaws the truth from emerging.”
For more information, please visit FranklinCenterHQ.org