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Home > About SPJ > Documentation > Resolutions

Documentation
Resolutions

Approved by the Resolutions Committee for consideration by the National Convention of the Society of Professional Journalists, Aug. 26, 2006

Resolution No. 1
The need for a federal shield law

Whereas, the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of the press; and

Whereas, the constitutional promise of an independent news media cannot be fulfilled unless journalists are able to protect confidentiality of news sources; and

Whereas, 49 of the 50 states recognize, by statute or case law, a journalists’ privilege to protect sources; and

Whereas, no such law exists at the federal level, where judges and prosecutors have become increasingly unfriendly to journalists’ assertion of this privilege;

Therefore, be it resolved by the Society of Professional Journalists, in convention assembled, that Congress should pass a law recognizing journalists’ privilege; and

Be it further resolved that copies of this resolution be sent to the majority leader and whip and the minority leader of the U.S. Senate, and to the speaker, majority leader and minority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Submitted by the Resolutions Committee


Resolution No. 2
Joshua Wolf and the protection of journalistic rights

Whereas, Joshua Wolf, an independent video journalist, shot footage of an anti-G8 protest in San Francisco in 2005, selling some of it to television stations; and

Whereas, a local police car and one local police officer’s skull were fractured during the demonstration, but California authorities chose not to attempt to prosecute those responsible; and

Whereas, a federal prosecutor convened a grand jury to investigate the damage, claiming jurisdiction because some infinitesimal amount of federal money may have been used to purchase the police car; and

Whereas, the prosecutor demanded Wolf turn over outtakes from his video, a request that would not be prohibited in state court under California’s shield law protecting journalists’ sources; and

Whereas, Wolf, exercising First Amendment rights, refused to turn over his footage, resulting in a judge finding him civil contempt; and

Whereas, Wolf has been confined in the federal prison at Dublin, Calif., since Aug. 1, and could remain there until the grand jury’s term expires next July; and

Whereas, this action is a chilling step toward negating all state shield laws, allowing federal prosecutors to use the most negligible of ties to federal money to override the protections contained in these laws, thus silencing sources and threatening to convert all journalists into arms of law enforcement;

Therefore, be it resolved by the Society of Professional Journalists in convention assembled, that SPJ calls on the U.S. attorney, in recognition of the need in a self-governing society for a free and independent press, to drop his demand for Wolf’s video outtakes, and

Be it further resolved, we call on all other state legislatures to join the California Assembly in unanimously supporting a federal shield law; and

Be it finally resolved, we call on Congress to adopt a federal shield law that protects mainstream, free-lance and Internet journalists.

Submitted by the Resolutions Committee


Resolution No. 3
Supporting Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams

Whereas, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams of the San Francisco Chronicle reported details of the use of performance-enhancing substances by professional baseball players, including potential home-run king Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants; and

Whereas, the reporters’ stories helped prompt Major League Baseball to impose stricter rules against players’ use of such substances; and

Whereas, the stories relied partly on a source or sources to whom the reporters promised confidentiality; and

Whereas, a federal judge has ordered Williams and Fainaru-Wada to reveal how they obtained information about the testimony of Bonds and other athletes to a federal grand jury; and Whereas, the benefit of the reporters’ stories outweighs any harm caused by disclosure of grand-jury material; and

Whereas, such stories often cannot be published without confidential sources, and the news media should be able to protect such sources to expose and help rectify ills in society; and

Whereas, journalists should not become tools of law enforcement, and the reporters have said they will go to jail rather than reveal their source or sources;

Therefore, be it resolved by the Society of Professional Journalists in convention assembled, that SPJ supports the stand of Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams and their appeal with the San Francisco Chronicle to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; and

Be it further resolved that SPJ calls on all judges, prosecutors and officers of all courts in the United States to refrain from any acts that seek to compel journalists to reveal sources to whom confidentiality has been promised; and

Be it finally resolved that this case is yet another unfortunate illustration of the need for a federal shield law protecting the confidentiality of journalists’ sources.

Submitted by the Resolutions Committee


Resolution No. 4
Administration policies toward the news media

Whereas, all Americans should enjoy the journalistic rights granted by the First Amendment, to ensure that the government has the informed consent of the governed and is held fully accountable for its actions;

Whereas, journalists should play a leading role in defending the rights that they exercise on behalf of the public; and

Whereas, the administration of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government has adopted policies that are unusually adversarial to journalism and the public’s right to know, including fraudulent use of video news releases, use of subpoenas and criminal contempt proceedings to force reporters to reveal confidential sources; unwarranted delays or outright failure to respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act; payments to columnists to support administration policies; Vice President Cheney’s refusal to reveal industry representatives who attended meetings about energy policy, reclassification of documents that have been declassified and publicly available for many years; and policies that make it more difficult for journalists to travel with the president because of the limited access allowed to him and his listeners at political events;

Therefore, be it resolved by the Society of Professional Journalists, in convention assembled, that SPJ asks the Bush administration to reconsider its anti-journalism policies, and respect citizens’ right to know what the government is doing in their behalf; and

Be it further resolved that SPJ calls on Americans who value journalism’s role in democracy to make their feelings about this issue known to their elected leaders; and

Be it finally resolved that copies of this resolution be delivered to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, major news media and journalism organizations, particularly the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, whose recent resolution helped inform and inspire this one.

Submitted by the Resolutions Committee


Resolution No. 5
Use and regulation of video news releases

Whereas, sloppy journalism by 77 television stations, failing to identify the sources of prepackaged video news releases, has put them in danger of serious sanctions from the Federal Communications Commission; and

Whereas, the Society of Professional Journalists deplores both the FCC’s attempt to control the content of news reports and the deceptive and unethical journalism that led to the federal agency’s threatening response; and

Whereas, no responsible journalist working in any medium should disseminate information without checking its accuracy and seeking more information about the subject; and

Whereas, journalists — with only a very few exceptions for legitimately confidential sources — have an ethical obligation to identify the sources of their information because viewers, listeners and readers should be able to judge sources’ reliability and motives;

Therefore, be it resolved by the Society of Professional Journalists in convention assembled, that the producers of a video news release should make it clear who is paying for it; that television stations should ensure that viewers are fully aware of the source, ideally with a clear identifying graphic that appears throughout any material used from the release; and

Be it further resolved, that the FCC should leave the regulation of news content up to journalists.

Submitted by the Ethics Committee


Resolution No. 6
Laws to protect student media from censorship

Whereas, the California Senate and Assembly passed a bill that would be the first state statute prohibiting college and university administrators from censoring student newspapers; and

Whereas, the California bill sends a clarion call to all states that they should codify prohibitions of censorship of campus media; and

Whereas, student reporters and editors in all media at colleges and universities should share the same First Amendment freedoms as their professional colleagues; and

Whereas, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ruled that administrators at universities in Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin could review student articles before publication if their student-run newspapers are published by the college; and

Whereas, the Society of Professional Journalists has adopted a Campus Media Statement saying, “Our student media are designated public forums and free from censorship and advance approval of content. Student media are free to develop editorial policies and news coverage with the understanding that students and student organizations speak only for themselves. Administration, faculty, staff or other agents shall not consider the student media’s content when making decisions regarding the media’s funding;”

Therefore, be it resolved by the Society of Professional Journalists in convention assembled, that SPJ urges other states to follow California legislators’ lead in protecting student press rights; and that colleges and universities nationwide adopt the Society’s Campus Media Statement in principle and practice.

Submitted by Mead Loop, vice president for campus chapter affairs


Resolution No. 7
Attempts to control content by firing faculty advisers

Whereas, the Society of Professional Journalists consistently has sought to protect the First Amendment rights of student journalists and student news organizations at both public and private colleges and universities; and

Whereas, college and university administrators are increasingly seeking to control the content in student newspapers by coercing, penalizing, or dismissing faculty advisers to student news organizations; and

Whereas, of at least 15 such cases reported by the Student Press Law Center and College Media Advisers over the last eight years, two-thirds have occurred in the last four years; and

Whereas, four of the six colleges or universities ever censured by College Media Advisers for firing a faculty adviser over the content of the student-run newspaper have been censured since 2004, and

Whereas, college and university administrators have continued to fire and otherwise retaliate against faculty advisers for student newspaper content, despite at least three cases in which fired advisers defending their student’s First Amendment rights have won legal settlements of $100,000 or more, and

Whereas, the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal last year to overturn the Hosty vs. Carter decision by the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has weakened traditional First Amendment protections for college media, potentially made advisers more vulnerable and invited administrative pressure; and

Whereas, there appears to be a misunderstanding among too many college officials that the job of faculty advisers should include reviewing the content of student media before publication; and

Whereas, too many college officials appear to believe that performance evaluations and decisions to re-hire faculty advisers can and should be based on content decisions made by student editors, and

Whereas, any such attempts to control the content of student media are repugnant to those who believe in a free press and the First Amendment and are especially confusing and damaging examples of citizenship for both students and the public at large when they come from the leaders of educational institutions; and

Whereas, the Society issued earlier this year a statement of principles to be adopted by individual colleges and universities to show their commitment not to control or censor student media by formally designating their student media as public forums subject to First Amendment protections;

Therefore, be it resolved by the Society of Professional Journalists in convention assembled, that SPJ joins the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in affirming the following principles concerning the role of advisers to student media:

1. Advisers to student media should not be put in positions requiring them to control content of the media they advise at public or private colleges and universities; and

2. College and university administrations, both public and private, should not expect student-media advisers to determine content or give approval for content appearing in the student media; and

3. Student-media advisers at public and private colleges and universities should not be obliged to seek permission of administrators for the use of and placement of any content in the student media; and

4. That no adviser should be removed, punished, or face other sanctions because of content published or broadcast by student media; and

Be it further resolved that the Society’s national convention hereby affirms and expands the Society’s statement on college press freedom recommended for adoption by colleges and universities so that it reads as follows, adding the words “or faculty adviser” at the end:

“Student media are designated public forums, and free from censorship and advance approval of content. Because content and funding are unrelated, and because the role of adviser does not include advance review of content, student media are free to develop editorial policies and news coverage with the understanding that students and student organizations speak only for themselves. Administrators, faculty, staff or other agents shall not consider the student media’s content when making decisions regarding the media’s funding or faculty adviser.”


Resolution No. 8
Censuring Ocean Co. College, supporting Karen Bosley

Whereas, Karen Bosley has served with distinction as adviser to the Viking News, the student newspaper at Ocean County College, for more than 30 years; and,

Whereas, the Viking News has been a consistent winner of national and state awards for college journalism; and,

Whereas, College Media Advisers named Professor Bosley the Distinguished Newspaper Adviser for the Nation’s Two-Year Colleges in 1978; and,

Whereas, Bosley started the first journalism program at a two-year college in New Jersey, at Ocean County College more than three decades ago, and created most of the journalism courses currently taught at the college; and,

Whereas, the college’s Board of Trustees, at the urging of President Jon Larson, terminated Bosley’s contract as adviser to the Viking News, effective in June of this year; and,

Whereas, the college administration has barred Bosley, who has taught most of the journalism classes at the college, from teaching any journalism classes during the coming academic year and reassigned her to teach only English classes; and,

Whereas, separate fact-finding reports this year, by College Media Advisers and the Society of Professional Journalists, found that the actions by the administration were unjustified on administrative or pedagogical grounds; and,

Whereas, both reports concluded that the administration’s action came after stories critical of or embarrassing to President Larson appeared in the Viking News, and that the actions appeared, despite administration denials, to be aimed at intimidating the student editors and curtailing future reporting seen as critical of Larson and the college administration, and,

Whereas, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication this month censured Ocean County College for See Resolutions on page 14

violating the First Amendment rights of students by its treatment of Bosley and urging her reinstatement as journalism teacher and adviser to the Viking News; and,

Whereas, three student editors of the Viking News have sued the college for abridging their First Amendment rights as students and journalists by dismissing Bosley and taking other actions to control the content of the campus newspaper, and have asked the court to order her reinstatement as their paper’s adviser; and,

Whereas, U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Chesler, who is hearing the students’ case, has issued a temporary injunction requiring the college to reinstate Bosley as adviser to the Viking News; and,

Whereas, it is important that Bosley’s reinstatement as adviser be permanent and that she also be permitted to resume teaching journalism;

Therefore, be it resolved by the Society of Professional Journalists in convention assembled, that SPJ censures President Jon Larson and the Trustees of Ocean County College for attempting to control the content of the student newspaper and violate the First Amendment rights of students on their campus by unjustified retaliation against faculty adviser Karen Bosley; and

Be it further resolved, that SPJ calls on the administration of Ocean County College to resolve this dispute in the interests of the students and their right to a free press by abandoning a legal battle with its own students and unconditionally reinstating Bosley as adviser to the Viking News and restoring her normal journalism course load; and

Be it finally resolved that copies of this resolution be sent to the President of the Board of Trustees of Ocean County College, President Jon Larson, Prof. Karen Bosley and to news media in New Jersey.

Submitted by Guy Baehr, New Jersey Chapter


Resolution No. 9
Need for more international reporting

Whereas, investment in the United States from other countries continues to rise; and

Whereas, immigration is changing the demographics of many American cities to such a degree that the immigrant community as a whole, with strong ties to home countries, are now pluralities in some cities; and

Whereas, this increase in the globalization of the American economy and society is not being matched by a subsequent increase in international reporting; and

Whereas, the American people are poorly served by local and national news organizations that reduce international news to wars, natural disasters, and “tales of the unusual;”

Therefore, be it resolved, that the Society of Professional Journalists, in convention assembled, calls on its members to discuss the importance of increased international reporting with their news organizations, and to look for local stories that have an international connection; and

Be it further resolved, that SPJ encourages news organizations to take better advantage of freelance journalists around the world to find international news with a local angle; and

Be it finally resolved, that SPJ encourages local chapters to participate in international exchange programs and to include in their programming each year at least one event that helps members and the public to better understand the links between their communities and the rest of the world.

Submitted by the International Journalism Committee


Resolution No. 10
Internet freedom

Whereas, the Internet is the 21st Century’s street hawker; and

Whereas, the freedoms that media in the United States enjoy from the U.S. Constitution are fundamental to the Internet; and

Whereas, the Internet knows no political boundary; and

Whereas, governments fearful of freedom of speech and expression have gone to great lengths to control, suppress, and censure users of the Internet in their countries; and

Whereas, some countries, notably China and Vietnam, have recently been engaged in massive sweeps of bloggers and other internet contributors in an effort to stifle the release of information from inside their countries to the outside world; and

Whereas, these countries have also enacted legislation that would make accessing “proscribed” websites such as The New York Times and CNN crimes;

Therefore, be it resolved by the Society of Professional Journalists in convention assembled that SPJ strongly condemns efforts by any government to stifle the free flow of information via the Internet, and

Be it further resolved, SPJ supports efforts of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) to widely publicize the flagrant violations of international charters and treaties by governments around the world; and

Be it further resolved, that SPJ chapters should incorporate in their programs discussions of the link between local freedoms and freedom of expression on a global scale; and that copies of this resolution be sent to IFEX with a note of thanks for its work and to all appropriate international journalism organizations.

Submitted by the International Journalism Committee


Resolution No. 11
Thanks to the Committee to Protect Journalists

Whereas, The Committee to Protect Journalists has been in existence since 1981 and thus is celebrating its 25th anniversary; and

Whereas, the Society of Professional Journalists, its members, and all journalists have benefited from the efforts of CPJ in drawing attention to the dangers our colleagues face around the globe;

Therefore, be it resolved by the Society of Professional Journalists in convention assembled, that SPJ expresses its admiration for the efforts of CPJ and pledges continued support of its activities; and that copies of this resolution be sent to CPJ and other appropriate international journalism organizations.

Submitted by the International Journalism Committee


Resolution No. 12
Visas for foreign journalists

Whereas, more than two years ago the U.S. government changed the procedures for foreign journalists to renew their legal status in order to work in the United States; and

Whereas, assistance from the U.S. Government to journalists seeking information about the procedure is virtually non-existent, with reports that toll-free numbers of the Departments of State and Homeland Security link only to taped messages that provide little help; and

Whereas, DHS offices that could provide help are available to the public only a few hours a week; and

Whereas, because the changes and the confusing nature of the visas for foreign journalists have caused a number of problems for these journalists, including denial of local driver’s licenses, refusals by local school systems to register their children for classes, and difficulty in setting up checking accounts; and

Whereas, more than 1,000 foreign journalists have requested assistance from an active member of the International Journalism Committee in the past two years in helping navigate the complexities of the visa-renewal process after being frustrated by the lack of assistance from U.S. government agencies, and

Whereas, more than two-thirds of these journalists were dealing with procedural questions that should have been easily handled by DHS and the State Department if either had a more efficient system of handling inquiries;

Therefore, be it resolved by the Society of Professional Journalists in convention assembled, that SPJ renews its call for the U.S. Government to revisit the issue of how it handles visas for foreign journalists; and

Be it further resolved that as part of this review the federal government should look at ways to provide better service for those seeking clarification of their status and the procedures necessary to ensure they and their families are able to enjoy the rights and privileges other visa holders enjoy; and

Be it finally resolved that this convention encourages local chapters to send copies of this resolution to their members of Congress with a note encouraging changes, and that copies be sent to the Departments of State and Homeland Security and other appropriate journalism organizations.

Submitted by the International Journalism Committee


Resolution No. 13
Suppression of journalism in China

Whereas, China continues to hold the dubious record of having the largest number of journalists behind bars in the world; and

Whereas, current regulations, reinforced earlier this year by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), ban Chinese media from using foreign news agency video footage without government permission; and

Whereas, a pattern of persecution and harassment against foreign journalists, including wiretapping, surveillance, and harassment of sources and potential sources, has intensified in recent months; and

Whereas, this harassment includes extended detentions without charges and subsequent short and secret trials, notably the detentions and trials of New York Times researcher Zhao Yan and Singapore Straits Times correspondent Ching Cheong; and

Whereas, The Foreign Correspondents Club of Beijing estimates dozens of foreign journalists, including those assigned to China and those visiting, are detained, threatened or attacked each year; and

Whereas, attacks on foreign and domestic journalists and their sources with the seeming approval of local officials is on the increase, as exemplified by the case of Fu Xiancai, a local activist who was supporting people who were displaced by the building of the Three Gorges dam project, spoke with a German television reporter, was detained by local police, left the jail paralyzed and was then placed under house arrest; and

Whereas, the Beijing government has refused to look into that case and continues to blacklist reporters and news organizations that have run critical stories of government policies; and

Whereas, the central government of China has been rapidly enacting new laws and regulations that will impose strict content control rules on journalists and bloggers; and

Whereas, there is a light of hope in privately and publicly sponsored programs that bring more Chinese journalists to the United States and Europe for training and exchange programs, allowing Chinese reporters and editors to experience how an unfettered press aids in the development and stability of a society;

Therefore be it resolved, that the Society of Professional Journalists, in convention assembled, again joins with the many organizations that deplore and condemn the actions taken against journalists by the Chinese government; and

Be it further resolved that SPJ extends its best wishes and full support to all journalists in China — foreign and domestic — who have to daily face intimidation and harassment from government agencies; and

Be it further resolved that SPJ encourages local chapters and members to offer their services to exchange organizations that host Chinese journalists and to engage these visiting journalists in discussions based on the SPJ Code of Ethics; and

Be it finally resolved, that copies of this resolution be sent to the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., the China Desk of the U.S. Department of State, the Foreign Correspondents’ Clubs of Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, and other appropriate international journalism organizations.

Submitted by the International Journalism Committee


Resolution No. 14
Acceptance of Taiwanese media credentials

Whereas, Taiwanese news outlets have been regularly banned from obtaining credentials to cover United Nations events, including sessions of the World Health Organization; and

Whereas, the WHO sessions discuss issues of global health concerns from HIV/AIDS to pandemic flu; and

Whereas, full coverage of these proceedings is vital for the well-being of all people of the world; and

Whereas, the WHO has regularly denied media credentials to not only Taiwanese citizens but also citizens of third countries representing Taiwan news outlets; and

Whereas, this ban appears to be politically motivated by forces within the United Nations’ structure that wish to see Taiwan isolated though it has a vibrant, active and free media and is the only Chinese- speaking democracy in the world; and

Whereas, Article 19 of the International Declaration of Human Rights calls for access of information to all people regardless of nationality or political borders;

Therefore, be it resolved by the Society of Professional Journalists in convention assembled that SPJ calls on the WHO and the rest of the United Nations structure to put aside

See Resolutions on page 15



political agendas and grant credentials to legitimate Taiwan news organizations seeking to cover their sessions, and

Be it further resolved copies of this resolution be sent to the WHO, the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, and appropriate journalism organizations.

Submitted by the International Journalism Committee


Resolution No. 15
Supporting the Asia Journalists Association

Whereas, the Asia Journalist Association was created in Seoul, South Korea, in October 2005; and

Whereas, representatives of the Society of Professional Journalists attended the inauguration of this group and SPJ is listed as a founding member, and

Whereas, the AJA aims to foster better communication and support among journalists in Asia and Pacific regions, and

Whereas, SPJ has a long history of supporting journalists in their struggles for freedom and independence;

Therefore, be it resolved by the Society of Professional Journalists in convention assembled that SPJ sends its congratulations to the AJA on its first anniversary and renews its commitment to work with journalists in the Asia-Pacific region to help and support them in ensuring freedom of the press and journalistic independence, and that copies of this resolution be sent to AJA and other appropriate international journalism organizations.

Submitted by the International Journalism Committee


Resolution No. 16
Deaths in Iraq

Whereas, Iraq remains the world’s deadliest country for journalists, with 134 journalists and news staff having been killed since the beginning of the U.S. invasion through July 2006; and

Whereas, journalists and their support staff have also been the targets of kidnapping and other forms of intimidation;

Therefore be it resolved, by the Society of Professional Journalists in convention assembled, that SPJ extends sympathies to the families and friends of journalists killed in action and calls for the safe return of those kidnapped by extremists; and

Be it further resolved, we send our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the journalists and news staff who continue to face danger while bringing the world balanced reporting from such a difficult location; and

Be it further resolved, we call on the Iraqi government and coalition forces to do all that is possible to ensure the safety of these journalists; and

Be it finally resolved that copies of this resolution shall be sent to the Iraqi embassy in Washington, D.C.; the U.S. Departments of Defense and State; and all appropriate international journalism organizations.


Resolution No. 17
Project Impunity in Latin America

Whereas, Latin America is second only to Iraq as the deadliest area on the planet for journalists; and

Whereas, many of the killings and beatings of journalists have apparently been carried out by gangs with close governmental ties, and

Whereas, a growing number of victims of these executions and beatings are Mexican journalists daring to report the activities of corrupt officials and drug lords along the U.S.-Mexican border; and

Whereas, the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) has been in the forefront of pressuring governments to take the attacks on journalists seriously and to bring to justice the murderers of our colleagues in Latin America; and

Whereas, the IAPA runs Project Impunity to investigate apparent complicity between government officials and the murderers of journalists; and

Whereas, this project has resulted in closer central-governments monitoring of the investigations and prosecutions of those responsible for the deaths of journalist in in Latin American countries; and

Whereas, SPJ began talks with the IAPA’s incoming president earlier this year in an effort to conduct joint projects;

Therefore, be it resolved by the Society of Professional Journalists in convention assembled, that SPJ renews its support and admiration for Project Impunity, and

Be it further resolved that SPJ calls on its chapters and member to look for opportunities to offer assistance to IAPA and its programs, including Project Impunity; and

Be it finally resolved that the SPJ International Journalism Committee is instructed to continue talks with the IAPA and propose programs that will benefit both organizations.

Submitted by the International Journalism Committee


Resolution No. 18
Freedom of Information in the Americas

Whereas, the concept of freedom of information is slowly permeating the Western Hemisphere; and

Whereas, more and more countries in the Americas are enacting freedom-of-information laws; and

Whereas, unfortunately many of those laws are not being used to their fullest extent, largely because of government agencies’ unwillingness to obey the laws and because of confusing and often contradictory regulations in the application of the laws; and

Whereas, the Inter-American Press Association has called for all countries in the hemisphere to enact strong freedom-of-information laws and has asked for assistance in training journalists and government officials in the implementation and use of these laws; and

Whereas, a number of European governments and private organizations and the U.S. Agency for International Development and Public Diplomacy office of the Department of State have provided experts to help in this process; and

Whereas, while SPJ is pleased at the attention of the European and North American governments in this area, we believe it is best if journalists help journalists understand and develop skills in using and promoting freedom of information laws; and

Whereas, initial discussions between the IAPA leadership and SPJ’s International Journalism Committee have been useful in identifying areas where the two organizations can work together;

Therefore, be it resolved, by the Society of Professional Journalists in convention assembled, that SPJ expresses its support of the efforts of IAPA to solicit help from media organizations for Latin American journalists; and

Be it further resolved, the International Journalism Committee in consultation with the FOI Committee is encouraged to continue discussions with IAPA to find the most efficient ways U.S. journalists can help the promotion of freedom of information laws in this hemisphere; and

Be it finally resolved that copies of this resolution be sent to IAPA and all appropriate international journalism organizations.

Submitted by the International Journalism Committee


Resolution No. 19
Congratulations to Clave Digital

Whereas, the news media in the Dominican Republic enjoy a level of freedom unparalleled in that country’s history; and

Whereas, there nevertheless are still strong influences from public and private sources that affect the independence of many Dominican news outlets; and

Whereas, Clave Digital was formed a year ago by Dominican journalists frustrated with those influences; and

Whereas, following a meeting between the Clave Digital editorial board and SPJ President David Carlson, Clave Digital adopted the SPJ Code of Ethics as the guiding principles for the organization; and

Whereas, when Clave Digital inaugurated a paper-and-ink, investigatory publication, it not only published its code of ethics but publicly thanked SPJ for its assistance and permission to use our code of ethics as the publication’s own, and

Whereas, following the introduction of the new publication, other news outlets in the Dominican Republic began public discussions in editorials and opinion pieces on the importance of ethical journalism;

Therefore, be it resolved by the Society of Professional Journalists in convention assembled, that SPJ congratulates Clave Digital for initiating a public discussion of the importance of ethics in journalism; and that we send our warmest regards to the editors and publisher of Clave Digital and wish them well in their efforts to maintain their ethical standards and independence.

Submitted by the International Journalism Committee


Resolution No. 20
Thanks to Bob Lystad

Whereas, it is among the missions of the Society of Professional Journalists to “maintain constant vigilance in protection of First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and of the press,” and Whereas it is also a mission of the society “To encourage a climate in which journalism can be practiced freely and fully,” and Whereas, it is sometimes necessary to engage in legal action or lobbying to fulfill those missions, and Whereas, Robert D. Lystad of Baker and Hostetler LLP has repeatedly provided wise counsel to the Society on its intervention in many court actions, and Whereas, Robert D. Lystad has helped the Society write and evaluate court briefs, and Whereas, Robert D. Lystad has served as counsel to other defendants in First Amendment cases, and Whereas, Robert D. Lystad has accompanied Society leaders on many lobbying visits to congressional and other offices, and Whereas, Robert D. Lystad helped lobby for 1996 amendments to the federal Freedom of Information Act, and Whereas, Robert D. Lystad has joined in the effort to craft language for and lobby on behalf of a federal shield law, and Whereas, Robert D. Lystad has received the Society’s First Amendment Award twice, in 1994 for helping to secure the release of the findings of a federal panel in the Iran-Contra affair and in 1998 for being a member of the Society’s Campus Crime Task Force,” and

Whereas, in March 2006, Robert D. Lystad was named to the National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame by a coalition of more than 30 organizations;

Therefore, be It resolved by the Society of Professional Journalists in convention assembled that Robert D. Lystad receive our thanks for his 15 years of service to the Society, and Further be it resolved that the Society commends Robert D. Lystad for contributing to the defense of the rights of all American journalists.

Submitted by the Executive Committee


Resolution No. 21
Thanks to President David Carlson

Whereas, David Carlson has set an example for all journalists through his leadership of the Society of Professional Journalists, and

Whereas, David Carlson has worked tirelessly as a leader of the Society at both the local and national levels for many years, and

Whereas, David Carlson has long been an advocate and a living example of the ethical practice of journalism, and

Whereas, David Carlson has worked to assure the Society of Professional Journalists’ pre-eminent position among journalism organizations, and

Whereas, David Carlson has given selflessly of his time and his talents for the benefit of the Society and its members,

Therefore, be it resolved that the Society of Professional Journalists, in convention assembled, commends David Carlson for his dedication and sacrifice and express its gratitude for a job well done.

Submitted by the Resolutions Committee


Resolution No. 22
Thanks to SPJ Headquarters staff

Whereas, the Society of Professional Journalists’ headquarters staff has devoted years of planning to the staging of this annual convention in Chicago, and

Whereas, the annual effort culminates in packing up and moving virtually the entire headquarters to another city, and

Whereas, managing a convention such as this involves long hours and little sleep, and staff members have carried out their duties with great skill, good cheer and selfless dedication;

Therefore, be it resolved that the Society of Professional Journalists, in convention assembled, express its sincere appreciation for the dedication of Executive Director Terry Harper and the SPJ headquarters staff.

Submitted by the Resolutions Committee

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