Freedom of speech is everyoneâ??s right
June 11, 2008 · Updated 6:27 PM
There have been a few comments and remarks phoned and written in regarding the printing of a Sound-Off letter (CK Reporter, June 2) on Commissioner Chris Endresen.
These remarks have included disappointment in the content of the Sound-off as well as its placement. Whatever the opinion of the letter writer may be, it is his personal opinion and his right to freedom of speech. There were no remarks included in this piece that were unfit for print whether or not they were agreed or disagreed by everyone who read the Sound-Off.
The CK Reporter is not going to prohibit an opportunity to publish a letter written by a local member of the community because it may upset one side or the other. If we were to utilize that policy, no oneâ??s opinion would be published in our paper, because there is always going to be someone with a differing opinion. Yes, this letter was directed at the work of Commissioner Endresen, but it was a taxpaying, public citizenâ??s thoughts on an elected official.
Every election year, the Reporter receives a rash of letters talking down every opponent from every which way. Are we to hold these letters back because they may be offensive to the opposite party? If we were to do that, we wouldnâ??t publish any letters. We could just scrap the whole space reserved for letters and make it a doodle space. But then someone would submit their doodle, and undoubtedly it would offend someone.
This is just how absurd this whole issue could become if we were to hold back someoneâ??s letter because it might raise some eyebrows.
Itâ??s interesting how this Sound-Off becomes an issue when it is on a commissioner who is generally well-liked by most. The Reporter received almost none, if any, negative feedback when letters targeted toward other commissioners were printed. Recall the days of Commissioner Patty Lent when she was constantly being attacked by local groups, or Commissioner Josh Brown when he was first elected into office; letters were written about him because of his young age and lack of political experience. It has all been written before and it will all be written again.
As for the Sound-Offâ??s placement in the paper, it ran where every other Sound-Off runs, in the editorial column. And just to make sure itâ??s clear what a Sound-Off is in our publication, it is always accompanied by the header: â??Do you have a view on a local issue youâ??d like to express? Sound-Off is a public forum. The views are the opinion of the writer and not neccessarily of the newspaper.â? There in simple and plain text.
Just as it is the peopleâ??s right to disagree with the Sound-Off, it is the writerâ??s own right to express his opinion in a public forum which serves the readers in this community. Freedom of speech is a right we are provided and the CK Reporter is not going to keep that from its letter writers because it might upset someone. Thatâ??s what expressing your own opinion is all about, itâ??s something you can stand by and call your own. Exercise your right.