The Committee to Protect Journalists Monday (June 1) pointed to as many as 90 separate incidents of journalists assaulted, pepper-sprayed, shot with rubber bullets and arrested and said the scale of such "abuses" is "unprecedented in recent American history."
CPJ said it is investigating all of those incidents, which stem from coverage of the protests of the death of George Floyd in police custody. It argues that covering protests has been made more dangerous by "the adoption of aggressive, military-style policing, and the mounting hostility of protesters towards journalists," both of which have been going on for some time.
"CPJ is working with our press freedom partners to engage police departments, mayors, and other local officials across the country to improve practices, ensure accountability, and launch investigations into police misconduct when necessary," the group said.
In the face of those attacks, many on Local TV and radio journalists, the National Association of Broadcasters reiterated its support for those news crews as they cover the ongoing protests over racial inequality and called for greater protection.
“NAB has enormous respect for law enforcement and for the rights of Americans to protest peacefully to make their voices heard. However, I am gravely concerned about recent violence against journalists who are legally covering protests across the nation in the wake of the unconscionable death of George Floyd," said NAB President Gordon Smith.
"We implore both police and protesters to respect the difficult job of journalists and recognize their essential role in democracy. Dedicated broadcast journalists are putting themselves in harm’s way to cover the news and to shine a light on civic unrest. These reporters must be afforded appropriate First Amendment protections as they cover the news, hold officials accountable and shine a spotlight on the challenges facing our society.”
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