Governor Larry Hogan proclaimed this past Saturday, June 28, “Freedom of the Press Day” in honor of the five Capital Gazette employees who were murdered in the newsroom on June 28, 2018: Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters.
“Two years ago today, five Marylanders lost their lives to a heinous and unthinkable act of violence,” Hogan said in making the proclamation. “Today, as we honor those we lost and all who have lost their lives in the pursuit of informing our citizens, we recognize the vital role that the freedom of the press has in our democracy and our duty to honor and protect this most fundamental constitutional right.”
The proclamation read:
“WHEREAS, The Founding Fathers of the United States recognized the vital importance of a free press to uphold the nation’s democracy through the inclusion of the right to a free press in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America; and
“WHEREAS, Other nations throughout the world do not enjoy this right; and
“WHEREAS, Members of the United States Armed Forces have defended and given the ultimate sacrifice to protect this right; and
“WHEREAS, This right is threatened in the United States and around the world by acts of violence and dangerous, irresponsible rhetoric; and
“WHEREAS, All Marylanders join on June 28, 2020 in honoring the loss of the lives of Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters of the Capital Gazette, who were murdered in the newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland; and
“WHEREAS, June 28, will be observed as Freedom of the Press Day in Maryland to memorialize the lives lost on June 28, 2018, at the Capital Gazette offices and to honor and protect all journalists serving a vital role in the world’s democratic process to inform residents of the happenings of their governments.
“NOW, THEREFORE, I, LAWRENCE J. HOGAN, JR., GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MARYLAND, do hereby proclaim June 28, 2020 as FREEDOM OF THE PRESS DAY in Maryland, and do commend this observance to all of our citizens.”
Sen. Chris Van Hollen added his words of support.
“A free press is a bedrock of our democracy. As we work to end gun violence, we must also stand firm in our support for those who, increasingly at risk to themselves, work to bring facts and the truth to the public,” Van Hollen said in a statement.
“Now, more than ever, at a moment when those at the highest level of government continue to repeatedly and openly attack the press, undermine the truth, and cozy up to the gun lobby, we cannot afford to be silent.”
He said the Capital Gazette staff members lost their lives for reporting the truth. Reporting the truth is what real journalists do everyday.
It has long been our mission to inform and educate the public, to promote community participation and to provide a forum for public debate. We are the watchdogs and defenders of public trust, holding government officials, school systems and large corporations accountable for their actions.
We are sorry for the loss of our comrades at the Capital. We encourage everyone to remember them and other journalists killed around the world. Let’s make everyday “Freedom of the Press Day.”