“The nation’s leading journalism and press freedom organizations today called on law enforcement, mayors and governors across the country to halt the unprecedented assault against journalists in the field covering the protests for social justice.” National Press Club
On Monday an open letter to law enforcement officials nationwide was signed by twenty-eight press freedom organizations calling on police officers to cease their attacks on journalists providing coverage of the nation’s recent protests.
The signatories include:
- The National Press Club (NPC),
- The National Press Club Journalism Institute (NPCJI),
- Reporters Without Borders (RSF),
- Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ),
- James W. Foley Legacy Foundation,
- National Association for Black Journalists (NABJ),
- Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS),
- Pen America,
- NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists,
- News Media Alliance,
- National Association of Broadcasters (NAB),
- Freedom House,
- Online News Association,
- News Leaders Association,
- National Press Photographers Association (NPPA),
- National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ),
- Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ),
- International Women’s Media Foundation,
- \Asian American Journalist Association,
- The NewsGuild-CWA,
- National Federation of Press Women,
- National Press Foundation,
- College Media Association,
- Student Press Law Center,
- Texas Intercollegiate Press Association,
- Texas Community College Journalism Association, and the
- Radio & Television News Association of Southern California.
PEN America reports that in addition to indiscriminate use by the police of pepper spray, rubber bullets, tear gas, and riot gear against unarmed civilians at protests, the targeted arrests of and attacks on journalists covering these events marks a potentially devastating departure from the American tradition at a critical national moment.
“These violent attacks against the working press are an affront to our Constitutional values, namely the First Amendment and the protections it provides to the free press,” said PEN America’s Washington director Thomas O. Melia. “By trying to silence journalists, law enforcement officers are seeking apparently to prevent reporters from fulfilling their invaluable mission of informing the public, holding our leaders accountable, and providing vital information to citizens across the country. As an organization whose mission focuses on fostering dialogue across differences and amplifying lesser-heard voices, we at PEN America thank the National Press Club for leading on this timely letter reminding our nation’s police that their duty remains the protection of all law-abiding citizens, including journalists. In order for reporters to effectively bear witness to this movement at a decisive moment for our nation, these assaults must immediately cease.”
This post is courtesy of the National Press Club and PEN America.
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