World Press Freedom Day no celebration

Today (May 4) is World Press Freedom Day.

Somehow, it is not a celebration.

Shortly after 7 a.m. someone cut metal bars and kicked in the glass door at the Chiefland Citizen. They made a mess of the front offices, hauled off some items, took a peek inside my truly messy desk and left the staff feeling.

After cleaning up, we carried on taking ads, selling subscriptions, reporting on a drug bust in Inglis, an apparent drowning in Cedar Key, a sinkhole being patched near Fowlers Bluff and a night to honor the best in Levy County schools.

Then came the sobering news that our profession has lost 44 people in the past year. That's a record since numbers were being tracked in 1997.

Today, three journalists were found dead in Mexico — tortured and dismembered for their work on the drug war. A fourth person found with them was not a journalist — she was the girlfriend of one of the dead journalists.

We honor those who lost their lives and I am thankful for the freedom to report — without fear of physical harm — the news you need and expect from the Citizen.  It's not likely any of the handful of journalists in Levy County's news community will die for their profession.

Florida is state with a tradition of doing business in the Sunshine. We at the Citizen proudly adhere to that tradition embodied in the state constitution.

There are times government officials and others try to interfere with or block coverage and access to information. When someone tries to define what we should or should not know, they are defining what you can and cannot know.

At times we get to experience rudeness, public humiliation, hateful statements, behind the back gossip, rumors, slurs and just plain human ugliness.  We will live every day with dignity and integrity.

We also get to experience the best of Levy County and its people. For that we are also thankful. So many times over the Citizen staff has been welcomed and honored.

But it would be nice to have those 44 journalists among us.