Don’t Limit Freedom of the Press

first-amendment-by-brent-payne

Target: James H. “Jay” Lucas, Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives

Goal: Don’t require all working journalists to register with the state, limiting freedom of the press.

A South Carolina State Representative has filed a bill that, if passed, would require all journalists working in South Carolina to register with the state. The bill would further give the Secretary of State’s office the ability to revoke or deny those registrations if they determined someone was not fit to be a journalist. Journalists who operate without registering would be subject to penalties, including fines and jail time.

If this bill is allowed to become law, it puts every journalist in South Carolina at risk of censure if they write something counter to what the Secretary of State’s office finds acceptable. South Carolina’s citizens depend upon the constitutional right to freedom of the press to protect their journalists and ensure they receive news that isn’t unduly influenced by those making the news. The proposed law is a clear violation of this right and should not be allowed to progress any further.

Tell the South Carolina Speaker of the House that he must not allow this bill to come up for a vote.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Speaker Lucas,

Representative Mike Pitts recently filed a bill that would force journalists working in South Carolina to register. If they refuse, the bill would allow for penalties including fines and jail time. In addition, the bill would give the Secretary of State’s office the ability to remove or deny registrations at their discretion.

This bill fundamentally denies journalists’ freedom of the press and opens them to risk of censure. In a country founded upon basic freedoms, which are guaranteed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the very proposal of this bill is unacceptable.

We demand that this bill is removed from consideration and never reaches the House floor for a vote.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Brent Payne

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