House of Representatives passes Fallen Journalists Memorial Act

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The U.S. House of Representatives has passed bipartisan legislation authorizing the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation to establish a national memorial that honors the many reporters, editors, photographers and broadcasters who have lost their lives reporting the news.

“Washington has many monuments honoring those who have sacrificed their lives to protect our freedoms — yet, there is no memorial on public land to recognize the journalists who have made the same sacrifice,” stated FJM Foundation President Barbara Cochran. “Such a memorial will demonstrate to citizens and visitors from around the world that our country values a free press, honors the sacrifices of journalists, and supports the families, friends and colleagues of the fallen.”

The Fallen Journalists Memorial Act, H.R. 3465 , was sponsored by Representatives Grace Napolitano (D-CA) and Tom Cole (R-OK). Similar legislation (S. 1969) was introduced in the Senate by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH).

“I am grateful to my former colleagues in Congress for approving this legislation and recognizing the sacrifices of those journalists who have been attacked, imprisoned and murdered around the world,” stated the Hon. David Dreier, former chairman of Tribune Publishing. “This memorial will be a testament to our commitment as a nation to the freedom of the press and an enduring symbol of freedom.”

The legislation authorizes the FJM Foundation to establish a memorial on federal land in Washington, DC, to commemorate America’s commitment to a free press by honoring those journalists who sacrificed their lives in service to that cause. It precludes the building of such a memorial on what is known as the “Reserve,” the area of the Mall in Washington, DC, where new commemorative works are prohibited.

The measure also prohibits the use of federal funds. It requires the FJM Foundation, which operates under the auspices of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, to follow a particular process to ensure that the memorial is appropriately designed, constructed and located, and that sufficient private funds are provided to the National Park Service to maintain the memorial.

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