Global thoughts for Annapolis victims... but no flag-lowering

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Newsrooms across the world have been asked to stop for a "moment of silence" to honour the five Capital Gazette employees killed in Annapolis last week.

The American Society of News Editors and Associated Press Media Editors has made the request after plans by the publisher and editor in chief of the Baltimore Sun Media Group and parent company tronc to mark the attack.

The observation at 2.33pm in Annapolis (GMT-4) is exactly a week after a gunman entered the Capital Gazette newsroom and opened fire. In the Asia Pacific that's early Friday morning (Australia 4.33 am; Singapore 2.33am; India 12.03am).

ASNE asked that newsrooms around the globe join the Baltimore Sun Media Group in a moment of silence for "contemplation, prayer, reflection or meditation". The gunman killed five - editorial page editor Gerald Fischman (61), assistant editor and columnist Rob Hiaasen (59), sportswriter John McNamara (56), newly-recruited sales assistant Rebecca Smith (34), and community correspondent Wendi Winters (65).

Baltimore Sun Media Group publisher and editor in chief Trif Alatzas (pictured) told colleagues the organisation's commitment to exercising its First Amendment rights "has never been so severely tested".

The call has been supported by tronc chief executive Justin Dearborn. The publisher - which also owns the Chicago Tribune and the New York Daily News - has established a fund for families, victims and survivors and a scholarship fund for journalism students at the University of Maryland College Park.

There has been criticism that a request by Annapolis mayor Gavin Buckley that American flags to be lowered in honour of the victims had been knocked back by President Donald Trump. "Obviously, I'm disappointed... this was an attack on the press," he said. "It was an attack on freedom of speech. It's just as important as any other tragedy."

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