free press us government adam schiff

Rep. Adam Schiff: One thing Mike Pence and I agreed on

Updated 7:53 AM ET, Mon November 13, 2017

Story highlights

  • US must defend the rights of journalists worldwide, Rep. Adam Schiff says
  • They face greatest threat when foes believe they can be targeted with impunity, he says

Adam Schiff is the Democratic US representative for California's 28th Congressional District. He is co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. This is the next installment in the CNN Opinion series on the challenges facing the media, under attack from critics, governments and changing technology.

(CNN)Seven years ago, I was proud to stand behind President Barack Obama as he signed into law the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act. The bill, which I named in honor of former Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, placed press freedom at the center of promoting human rights and democracy -- where it belongs.

Adam Schiff
Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and brutally murdered by terrorists in Pakistan shortly after the September 11 attacks. Like many, I was shaken by Daniel's death and moved by the courage and commitment that he, and so many other reporters around the world, demonstrate when they put themselves in real danger to tell stories that would otherwise go untold.
The Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act required the US State Department to report on press freedoms in its annual human rights report for the first time. Sadly, those reports have captured a world in which basic press freedoms and the safety of journalists are increasingly under threat from authoritarian regimes and violent nonstate actors.
Every day, journalists risk their lives to bring news and information to people around the world. They are often the first to report at the front lines of conflict zones, the first to uncover corruption and the first to suffer the backlash when powerful forces would rather keep something hidden. They are dedicated to the truth and driven by the belief that an informed world is a safer and better world.