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The mission of the New Mexico Foundation of Open Government (FOG) includes advocating, educating and litigating to help New Mexicans vindicate their rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Freedom of the press is one of the hallmarks of American democracy and enshrined as one of the five freedoms in the First Amendment – freedom of press, freedom of assembly, freedom of petition, freedom of religion and freedom of speech. This is not just an opinion; it is the law. The Constitution recognizes the right (and duty) of the press to report all news.

Arresting journalists for reporting the news is blatantly unconstitutional.

The UNM Police Department should drop the charges immediately. The officers involved either knew the arrests were unconstitutional and proceeded anyway or do not realize their actions are completely indefensible under the First Amendment.

Our democracy hangs by a thread. It requires constant vigilance, well-informed citizens and a robust press.

It is particularly important for FOG, reporters, good government officials, media outlets and private citizens to unite and support reporters who become the target of such odious practices. This solidarity is necessary because another reporter may become the next target – a detriment to us all.