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CPJ Decries Charges Against Ferguson Reporters

The Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday it was "appalled" by news reports that two reporters had been issued summons to appear in court on charges of interfering with a police officer and trespassing for "doing their jobs" to cover the protests in Ferguson, Mo., last year following the shooting death of Michael Brown.

The city is in the news once again as tributes to Brown on that anniversary were overtaken by renewed violence and unrest.

The reporters, Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post, were both issued summons almost a year after they were famously detained after working out of a McDonald's restaurant

If convicted, said CPJ, they could face up to a year in jail and a fine.

"U.S. authorities have no business hauling reporters into court for doing their jobs, especially on a world story like Ferguson," said CPJ deputy director Robert Mahoney in a statement. "We are appalled by this judicial intimidation of Wesley Lowery and Ryan Reilly and call on St. Louis authorities to drop all charges immediately."

CPJ documented harassment and detention of journalists covering the unrest in Ferguson, with most of a dozen reporters detained between Aug. 13 and 19 and others reporting being threatened by police, affected by gas or hit with rubber bullets.