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Gov. Ige signs student journalism protections bill

Courtesy Office of Governor David Y. Ige
Gov. David Ige signed Act 24 into law Monday, establishing freedom of speech and press protections to student journalists in Hawaiʻi's public schools and at the University of Hawaiʻi.

HONOLULU — Hawaiʻi Gov. David Ige on Monday signed legislation providing freedom of speech and press protections to students publishing school-sponsored media at Hawaiʻi public schools and the University of Hawaiʻi.

The "Hawaiʻi Student Journalism Protection Act" also protects advisers from retaliation for refusing to infringe upon student press freedom.

Ige told lawmakers and students gathered for a bill signing ceremony at McKinley High School that he was the page one editor of The Messenger at Pearl City High School.

"Providing student journalists with the same protections that exist for them in the industry gives them real-world opportunities and provides them a more enhanced laboratory for democracy and learning," Ige said.

Althea Cunningham, a recent McKinley graduate and student reporter at The Pinion, submitted written testimony saying students should be able to chase and report the truth with confidence.

"Schools are supposed to help prepare students for the future. How is letting administrators get away with killing articles they don't agree with helping our future journalists?" she said.

Supporters say similar laws already exist in 15 other states.

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