As the nation’s largest association of broadcast and digital journalists, RTDNA strongly supports the Journalist Protection Act, reintroduced today by Senators Blumenthal and Menendez and Representative Eric Swalwell, that will make it a federal crime to assault journalists.
We believe no member of the public should be subjected to physical attacks or other intimidation. Unfortunately, journalists have been increasingly demonized by our President and others in power simply for working to keep our communities informed. As a result, our members across the country have become targets for public contempt that has turned into unchecked physical violence. In each of the past two years, about four dozen reporters and photographers have been physically assaulted, or even murdered, across the United States.
Legislation like this that gives journalists protections under federal law is necessary because of the increased number of physical attacks on journalists and the risk they carry when reporting on behalf of the public. It allows federal investigators and prosecutors to step in if for any reason local authorities decide not to pursue a case. Decisive actions like this will go a long way toward protecting journalists’ constitutionally-guaranteed mandate and, ultimately, help ensure the American public will be able to count on local journalists to seek and report the truth.
RTDNA supported the Journalist Protection Act when first introduced last year, and awarded Rep. Swalwell the 2018 First Amendment Defender Award.
RTDNA is the world's largest professional organization devoted exclusively to broadcast and digital journalism. Founded as a grassroots organization in 1946, RTDNA’s mission is to promote and protect responsible journalism. RTDNA defends the First Amendment rights of electronic journalists throughout the country, honors outstanding work in the profession through the Edward R. Murrow Awards and provides members with training to encourage ethical standards, newsroom leadership and industry innovation Join our community of courageous news leaders and friends of the First Amendment or support our work – and local journalism across the country – with a gift that makes a difference in democracy.
About the Voice of the First Amendment Task Force
RTDNA’s Voice of the First Amendment Task Force defends against threats to the First Amendment and news media access and helps the public better understand why responsible journalism is essential to their daily lives. RTDNA is a founding partner of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, the archive of record for threats against press freedom in America. Reach out to the task force by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org and contributing to support press freedom.