WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a measure that authorizes the development and construction of a national monument to fallen journalists, similar to legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). The House bill, led by Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.-32) and Congressman Tom Cole (R-Okla.-04), clears the way for a privately funded memorial to be constructed on federal lands within the District of Columbia that would honor journalists, photographers, and broadcasters killed in the line of duty.
Senators Cardin and Portman released the following statement on House passage:
“We applaud the House for moving us closer to an official memorial honoring all those who have been killed while carrying out the duties of a free press, which is enshrined in America’s First Amendment. This memorial will pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice while personifying the freedoms we hold dear. We urge our Senate colleagues to join us in adopting this legislation swiftly.”
The Napolitano/Cole – Cardin/Portman legislation authorizes the Fallen Journalists Memorial (FJM) Foundation to establish a commemorative work (memorial) in the District of Columbia. Eligible federal land would be in “Area I” or “Area II,”, but not in the area designated as “Reserve.” The FJM Foundation must provide the funding necessary for the National Park Service or General Services Administration to maintain the memorial. The Annenberg Foundation and the Ferro Foundation have provided a total of $300,000 in initial funding to launch the FJM Foundation, which will operate under the auspices of the National Press Club Journalism Institute (NPCJI), the non-profit affiliate of the National Press Club.