Tennesseans have long complained about the lack of press freedom in the Lone Star State.
Now a local lawmaker is proposing a bill that he hopes will spur a nationwide conversation about what it means to be a journalist in a hostile environment.
A bill introduced Tuesday by state Rep. Tony Yaroslavsky, D-Fort Worth, would allow for lawsuits to be brought against news outlets that publish false reports.
He also wants to encourage more open and honest reporting by ensuring that media outlets provide information to the public in a timely manner and that journalists are not paid to write.
“We have a right to know, but we also have a responsibility to do our jobs,” Yaroslavky told the Texas Tribune.
It’s supposed to serve the public, and the government is supposed, if they want to be in office, to be serving the public.” “
Journalism is supposed to be adversarial.
It’s supposed to serve the public, and the government is supposed, if they want to be in office, to be serving the public.”
Yaroslavsk’s bill, SB 3, would require news outlets to provide the public with an annual report on the number of newsroom jobs and salaries.
The legislation would also require those outlets to include information on the hiring and firing of reporters.
Yaroslavski said the bill would also make it harder for journalists to be fired.
“I believe in freedom of the press, and I believe that in a free society, that journalists should be able to tell the truth,” he said.
Yarorgas proposal comes as the Trump administration has been cracking down on free speech and media coverage in the U.S. and abroad. “
What I’m proposing is not just a right for people to be able go to court, it’s not just going to be free speech, but it’s a free press.”
Yarorgas proposal comes as the Trump administration has been cracking down on free speech and media coverage in the U.S. and abroad.
A recent Justice Department report showed that the Trump team has targeted conservative and libertarian news organizations in an effort to undermine free speech.
Yarorga said he hopes his legislation will make it more difficult for media outlets to be intimidated.
“If you are a media outlet, you have a duty to tell us what you know, and what you don’t know,” he told the Tribune.
Yaronavsky said he believes the bill will be a powerful tool in the fight against the Trump agenda.
“This bill will put us on a path to make a stronger and stronger free press,” he added.
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“It’s about holding people accountable for what they say,” he continued.
“And we have a very clear obligation to hold people accountable.
If they’re lying, it is not acceptable.
If a journalist is lying, they should not work for a news organization.”
The Texas Legislature last year passed a law that gave local governments the right to ban political news from local radio and television stations.
Yarivsky has also been critical of the Trump-appointed Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, for refusing to defend the First Amendment in a lawsuit brought by a Texas woman against the White House.
Yarvoslavsky said that the attorney general’s decision has led to the “meltdown” of the state’s free speech protections.