The newspaper industry celebrates the 79th annual National Newspaper Week this week, and the theme this year is “Think F1rst — Know Your 5 Freedoms.”

Our forefathers made sure that we have certain rights when it comes to religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Many Muskogee residents enjoy and exercise their choices when it comes to religion. Some don’t practice religion, and, according to the First Amendment, that also is their right.

Freedom of speech allows people to have a voice without fear of being persecuted by the government. The same goes for the right to peaceably assemble.

With a world in turmoil in so many places, we can be thankful for these rights that are denied elsewhere.

Finally, freedom of the press helps make all of these freedoms work. Without the press, who would hold the government and officials accountable? Who would make sure that your other rights are protected? The press serves as a watchdog of the government. It serves all people. In some cases, dedicated journalists have given their lives to make sure important stories are told.

These are challenging times for news organizations. Consumers and advertisers have more choices than ever before, and some people – even high public officials – cast aspersions on the media. People are getting bits and pieces of information (and, more importantly, misinformation) from social media or other non-credible sources. Legitimate news organizations like community newspapers – whether you are reading us in print or online – still strive to give readers fair and accurate information from credible sources. We take our role very seriously and hope readers find value in being well informed. We appreciate your support of this newspaper, and of the First Amendment.

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