Proclamation 5360 -- Freedom of the Press Day, 1985

August 2, 1985

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

Freedom of the press is one of our most important freedoms and also one of our oldest. In the form of the First Amendment it is permanently embedded in our Constitution, but its roots go back to colonial America and indeed to the traditional laws and customs of England.

Two hundred and fifty years ago, on August 4, 1735, one of the landmark events of American legal history occurred when a court exonerated the newspaper publisher John Peter Zenger, who had been accused of sedition because of his zeal in uncovering official corruption. Since then, his case has become a symbol of our Nation's continuing commitment to maintaining freedom of the press.

Today, our tradition of a free press as a vital part of our democracy is as important as ever. The news media are now using modern techniques to bring our citizens information not only on a daily basis but instantaneously as important events occur. This flow of information helps make possible an informed electorate and so contributes to our national system of self-government. Freedom of the Press Day is an appropriate time to remember the contributions a free press has made and is continuing to make to the development of our Nation.

In recognition, the Congress, by House Joint Resolution 164, has designated August 4, 1985, as ``Freedom of the Press Day'' and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this event.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim August 4, 1985, as Freedom of the Press Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this occasion with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this second day of August, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and tenth.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 10:04 a.m., August 5, 1985]

Note: The proclamation was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on August 3.