The Newseum in Washington, D.C. Photo by John Pierce.By John Pierce

President Thomas Jefferson famously said: “…Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Indeed, a free press is one of the foundations of a democratic society. Sadly, many do not experience that kind of openness.

The Newseum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is one of the best places to gain a fresh appreciation for a free press. Among its many exhibits are a color-coded world map showing the degree of press freedom — from Finland’s wide openness to North Korea’s complete censorship — and a moving etched-glass memorial to reporters who have died in the line of duty.

On this World Press Freedom Day, it is especially fitting to honor those who put their lives at risk in order for us to have reliable information and to keep in check those with the reigns of power.

It is also a good day to express my deep appreciation to the directors, donors and subscribers of Baptists Today — who support our mission while granting editorial freedom and protecting the cherished principle of a free press.


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