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Sixteen Thousand People Send Messages to Journalists Arrested During Occupy Protests
via Josh Sterns, Free Press

How should we respond to the unprecedented rise in attacks on freedom of the press we are witnessing worldwide?

From foreign correspondents and citizen reporters being targeted and killed in Syria to new cases of press suppression and intimidation here at home, recent months have provided a series of stark reminders about the risks journalists take to bring us the news we need.

However, we are also seeing the rise of a new era of journalism advocates — ordinary people in communities around the country who are standing up for our freedoms and taking action to protect the First Amendment. For too long we have taken the First Amendment for granted, but increasingly we are taking responsibility for it. In the last few months, more than 40,000 Free Press members sent letters and made phone calls to their mayors, demanding that charges be dropped for the nearly 70 journalists who have been arrested while trying to cover Occupy protests nationwide.

We then asked people to write directly to the arrested journalists themselves, to stand with them and the organizations fighting to protect the First Amendment. Sixteen thousand people responded. This week we are delivering those messages to all those who have been detained.

One of those responses, from Elenore in Idaho Falls, captures the passion and commitment of these messages to journalists: “Your courage in reporting regardless of the consequences is amazing. Thank you for doing your job. Now it's our turn to try to help you obtain your freedom.”

Listen to Elenore’s message and a few others, as recorded by staff at Free Press:

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