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Napolitano’s Fallen Journalists Memorial Act Passes House

September 22, 2020
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, DC) Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 3465, the Fallen Journalists Memorial Act, a bill coauthored by Reps. Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA-32) and Tom Cole (R-OK-04).

“Even amid a global pandemic we see how journalists continue to provide an essential service to the public in fulfilling their duty to deliver the news,” Napolitano said. “They put their lives on the line day in and day out, to protect our democracy and a free and independent press, and fallen journalists are deserving of special tribute. I thank my House co-lead, Congressman Tom Cole, and all of our colleagues for supporting this critical legislation.”

H.R. 3465 would authorize the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation to work to collect funds to establish a memorial in Washington, D.C. The Foundation would plan the design, construction, operation, and maintenance with the National Parks Service (NPS). U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH) have introduced S. 1969, the Senate companion bill to H.R. 3465.

Dating back to 1837, there have been more than 2,000 journalists who have wrongfully died while working toward the promotion of the free press. This has included journalists who have died while covering military conflicts and wars, journalists who were wrongfully murdered, and journalists who died from ruthless acts of terror. One of the most recent and horrifying events was the Capital Gazette shooting in Annapolis, Maryland on June 28, 2018. During this tragic event, the gunman shot and killed five employees and injured two more. 

The only memorial that existed to honor the sacrifices that these men and women have made was at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., which closed at the end of 2019. With this closure, there is no current place where the public can go to honor those who gave their lives in the field of journalism.

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