Principles and Values
of the Missouri Press Association
Citizens have the right to know how their government operates. Any legislative efforts of the Missouri Press Association shall be directed to advance, preserve and protect the interests of the public, of newspapers and of publications serving the communities of Missouri. These efforts shall be directed to nourish citizens’ First Amendment freedoms and responsibilities. We will work to enhance openness in government, to keep public what should be public, and to advance the capabilities of a free press, understanding these are essential to the good health and vibrancy of democracy. Newspapers do not want exemptions or special privileges that are not offered to everyone. MPA's efforts include the following six areas of interest:
1. FREEDOM TO GATHER THE NEWS
We will work to remove any obstacle that interferes with our ability to photograph and speak to people about newsworthy events, to inspect and copy documents in any form (electronic, printed, photographic, etc.) generated by public or quasi-public governmental bodies, to be present to witness meetings and activities of such entities, to follow the use of public funds to entities receiving those public funds, and contact any other source of newsworthy information. At our discretion, we may keep confidential any information we obtain as we gather news.
2. FREEDOM TO PUBLISH NEWS, INFORMATION AND ADVERTISING
We assert the right to control the content of our newspapers, including the right to publish or not publish information and advertising whether brought to us, purchased or sold by our employees and authorized agents, or gathered by our news staffs or agents. We also seek to keep private as our own work product, the information we gather but do not publish.
3. FREEDOM FROM RESTRICTIONS ON DISTRIBUTION OF NEWS
We assert the right to distribute our newspapers and publications, in print or electronically, without interference from governmental agencies, corporations or private individuals.
4. PUBLICATION OF NOTICES TO THE PUBLIC
We believe that a central responsibility of public governmental bodies in our free society is to inform the public, not merely those directly involved, of its activities and legal actions affecting citizens. Missouri’s newspapers share and play an essential role in fulfilling that responsibility. Publication of paid notices in legally qualified local newspapers, as required by law, ensures public notification to those interested and to the community as a whole, as it has since the founding of our nation.
5. MINIMIZE GOVERNMENT BURDEN IN THE COMMERCE OF PUBLISHING
Recognizing the legitimate burden of social responsibility and financial support of local, state and federal governments, we seek to minimize the regulations and restrictions on any facet of our operations, and taxes imposed on our industry.
6. RECOGNIZE NEWSPAPERS AS VITAL, LOCAL INSTITUTIONS
Newspapers are important employers in more than 200 Missouri cities and towns. Newspapers play an important role in communities, keeping local citizens informed, stimulating local retail business and fostering economic development. If a community loses its local newspaper, what institution will next be lost . . . the school, the bank, the hospital? Newspapers and the free flow of information are essential for a progressive Missouri. -- January 2007
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Tuesday August 23rd