U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) joined a bipartisan group of Senators in cosponsoring legislation introduced by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH) to establish a new memorial to honor fallen journalists. The privately funded memorial would be constructed on federal lands within Washington, D.C., to honor journalists, photographers, and broadcasters who have been killed in the line of duty.
“The freedom of the press is one of our fundamental constitutional rights and is essential to the health and longevity of our democracy. Journalists, photographers, and broadcasters work hard every day to inform the public and uncover the truth, even when that puts them in physical danger. Their fellow reporters around the world can also face extreme risk of attack or reprisal for their work,” said Senator Collins, in a news release. “I am proud to support this bipartisan legislation that would create a dedicated memorial in our nation’s capital honoring those who have sacrificed their lives in the course of providing their fellow citizens with honest and accurate reporting.”
The bipartisan bill would authorize the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation to establish a commemorative memorial in D.C. The Foundation would provide the funding necessary for the National Park Service or General Services Administration to maintain the memorial. Approximately $300,000 in initial funding has already been raised to launch the Foundation, which would operate under the non-profit affiliate of the National Press Club.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 1,337 journalists have been killed in the line of duty since 1992, and hundreds of journalists are attacked, imprisoned, and tortured each year.
At least 59 journalists have been murdered or killed in the United States throughout our history while reporting, while covering a military conflict, or because of the status of the individual as a journalist.
Last month marked the first anniversary of the shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, which claimed the lives of five employees—Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters—and wounded two others.
The Fallen Journalists Memorial Act is also cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).