Letter comes as reports of assaults on journalists during protests mount
The Board of Governors of the Committee to Protect Journalists has sent a letter to governors, mayors and police chiefs across the country demanding that they stop assaults on journalists covering the protests.
The number of documented incidents of journalists attacked or arrested has topped 300 in 33 states, according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. CPJ has collected clips of just some of the confrontations into a YouTube video it posted Friday (June 5).
“They were attacked or arrested even after clearly identifying themselves as press and offering to move as asked. What is the point of press credentials issued by your agencies if armed officers can ignore them and treat journalists as criminals?,” they wrote.
“The journalists covering those demonstrations do so on behalf of the public. Every effort to impede their coverage is an effort to deny information to that public—the same public that you and your departments serve,” they said.
Dorothy Tucker, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, said Friday on a Society of Professional Journalists’ webinar about protest coverage and the police that newsroom managers need to reach out to police departments to let them know what is happening to their reporters and to ask them to talk to their officers and penalize officers who violate journalists’ rights. She also called for training so police know what journalists are doing and that they have a First Amendment right to do it.