0

EDITORIAL: Celebrating the First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

In just 45 words Americans are guaranteed five freedoms that are the very fabric of our way of life. We are guaranteed the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble and the right to petition.

This week the Georgia Press Association with a delegation of newspaper professionals from across the state, that included the Clayton News Daily, was reminded of the values contained in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

The Northeast Georgia History Center at Brenau University celebrated the First Amendment, a free press and the fundamental right of expression at the event held in Gainesville Thursday, as keynote speaker Elaine Shannon talked about the importance of the fundamental values contained in those 45 words.

Shannon, editor-in-chief and publisher at the Environmental Working Group, a journalist and author of three books, shared experiences in war-torn Afghanistan, insisting that free speech, openness and access to information protects freedom. She then encouraged journalists to “ask tough questions, ask the hard questions and put people on the spot.”

The Clayton News Daily understands that these values are critical for our liberty and essential to the future of our democracy. We celebrate these freedoms each day as we cover our communities, hold government accountable and express our point of view. We encourage citizens to exercise their First Amendment rights as well, by peaceably assembling, petitioning the government and speaking freely.

— Editor Jim Zachary