[Congressional Record Volume 143, Number 155 (Friday, November 7, 1997)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E2218]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                             HON. SAM FARR

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                        Friday, November 7, 1997

  Mr. FARR. Mr. Speaker, I want to address the House for a time about 
the sanctity of one of America's most treasured rights: the freedom of 
  Freedom of speech is central to most every other right that we hold 
dear in the United States and serves to strengthen the democracy of our 
great country.
  It is unfortunate, then, when actions occur that might be interpreted 
as contrary to this honored tenet.
  Currently there is a dispute between journalists in my district and 
the new owners of the Monterey County Herald newspapers. All employees 
of the newspaper were required to reapply for their jobs when the new 
owners took over the paper. Several of the employees--some of them 
prize-winning journalists--were not rehired.
  This action has left many in the community feeling that the newspaper 
is acting unfairly toward the reporters and fearing that it will affect 
the tenor of the news reported. Further there are suspicions that the 
owners may be engaging in antiunion efforts, casting further pall on 
the ability of the paper to serve the reading public.
  I urge every American--no matter the position they hold in this 
society of ours--to carefully consider the actions they take when those 
actions concern the dissemination of public information. Freedom of 
speech and freedom of the press are much too powerful rights to be lost 
to squabbles over the union or nonunion status of employees. They are 
too basic to the structure and fabric of American life to fall victim 
to bottom line dollar equations.
  I know the fired employees and the new owners of the Herald continue 
to negotiate over this matter. I am hopeful that the two sides can come 
to a mutually satisfactory arrangement that leaves the journalists 
reporting, the paper profiting, and the reading public informed.