Letter: Letters policy change hurts freedom of speech

From: John Vanderbur


Recently, The Republic made changes to  its letters to the editor policy in which one letter per writer may be published every 30 days. Also, election-related letters regarding candidates or issues on the ballot are accepted only as paid letters with a cost of $25.

Today I would like to address the 30-day publication of letters. I enjoy writing an occasional letter. I enjoy reading the letters to the editor, even when someone else has a differing opinion. You are giving voice to the average “Joe” and “Jane” whose opinions are worth every bit as much as anyone else’s. By changing from two weeks to 30 days you are not muting the voice of the people, but you are diminishing it.

I ask the publisher, editor and the assistant managing editor: Why? Why did you make the change from two weeks to 30 days? When something like this is changed, there must be reasons why that change is made. Were you losing subscriptions by allowing people to freely express their opinions through the two-week letter to the editor? Were you receiving a lot of submissions that were just simply uncivil enough not to publish? Perhaps there is a person, or persons, of great influence that try to use that influence to convince The Republic that it is beneath the dignity of The Republic to publish a commoner’s point of view. Perhaps it is one, or all of these, or perhaps it is none of these. So, if it was all, or none, the persistent question lingers: Why change?

One of the foundations of our government is the freedom of speech and of the press as outlined in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

An all-out assault has been declared by the Trump administration on some of America’s finest journalists and the institutions they work for. This is a chipping-away at that foundation of a free press. I also fully understand that The Republic’s decision to limit the frequency of peoples access to express their opinions on any given subject vastly pales in comparison to what’s being done nation-wide, but it is also a tiny chipping-away of that foundation.