ASJA Statement About The First Amendment

A free press is one of the standards of American democracy. In the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the Founding Fathers guaranteed the rights of a free press and free speech. Any attempt to denigrate or suppress a free press and free speech is a threat to the concepts spelled out in our Bill of Rights.

The First Amendment rights of journalists and free press liberties  have come under attack recently. The more than 1,200  independent, entrepreneurial, professional nonfiction writers who are members of the American Society of Journalists and Authors will continue to  defend the free expression of ideas. This includes defending against  government interference in the ability of independent writers and journalists to do their jobs. Such interference includes restrictions on obtaining information—as defined under the federal  Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. Limiting access to public officials through restricted press briefings; and politically  motivated removal of information from government-sponsored Web sites would exemplify such interference.

We remain steadfast in our dedication to responsible, ethical  journalism, and to writing thoughtfully, with integrity and adherence to the truth. We insist on  the freedom to write fair, balanced, and accurate fact-based articles and books. We will not succumb to any attempts to censor writers or to lessen the power of the Fourth Estate.

ASJA has a long history of supporting free speech and a free press. The ASJA, with the assistance of our First Amendment Committee, speaks out against censorship and recognizes exceptional journalistic courage through the Conscience in Media and Open Book awards.

2015-09-08: James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Austin Tice Named ASJA's Conscience In Media Award Recipients

2012-06-07: ASJA Presents Open Book Award to Arizona Group for Its Brave Defense of the Right to Read

2012-04-12: ASJA Defends the Right to Focus on the Police

  • A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it is to be God.
    – Sidney Sheldon
  • A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car.
    – Kenneth Tynan
  • A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self–addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor.
    – Ring Lardner
  • A young musician plays scales in his room and only bores his family. A beginning writer, on the other hand, sometimes has the misfortune of getting into print.
    – Marguerite Yourcenar
  • All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary – it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
    – Somerset Maugham
  • Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs.
    – Christopher Hampton
  • Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.
    – Lawrence Kasdan
  • Copy from one, it's plagiarism; copy from two, it's research.
    –Wilson Mizner
  • Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them.
    – Flannery O'Connor
  • I just wrote a book, but don't go out and buy it yet, because I don't think it's finished yet.
    – Lawrence Welk
  • I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
    – Douglas Adams
  • I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done.
    – Stephen Wright
  • It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.
    – Robert Benchley
  • It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.
    – Andrew Jackson
  • Most writers can write books faster than publishers can write checks.
    – Richard Curtis
  • No fathers or mothers think their own children ugly; and this self–deceit is yet stronger with respect to the offspring of the mind.
    – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  • There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
    –Somerset Maugham
  • Writing a novel is like paddling from Boston to London in a bathtub. Sometimes the damn tub sinks. It's a wonder that most of them don't.
    – Stephen King
  • Writing a novel is like spelunking. You kind of create the right path for yourself. But, boy, are there so many points at which you think, absolutely, I'm going down the wrong hole here.
    – Chang–rae Lee
  • Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.
    –Samuel Johnson