RTDNA Calls for Full Official Accounting of Events at the US Capitol


us capitol building

The Radio Television Digital News Association today is demanding that the US Capitol Police, the Department of Homeland Security and other relevant federal agencies and departments immediately provide the American people with a full accounting of exactly what happened before, during and after the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection in Washington, D.C.

Further, RTDNA is calling on the federal and state governments to inform the public, through the journalists who represent citizens, of details regarding ongoing threats of civil unrest and other insurgencies reportedly planned during the next several days throughout the country.

The Department of Justice and FBI did conduct a news briefing and provided some information with regard to the types of crimes that were committed and the variety of criminal charges filed and contemplated. But still, many details remain shrouded in mystery.

Dan Shelley, RTDNA executive director, issued the following statement:

It has been a week since a mob of thousands violently invaded the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to thwart the Congressional certification of the 2020 Electoral College vote for President and Vice President of the United States. At least five deaths and a countless number of injuries and illnesses occurred as a direct result. Yet the vast majority of information that has surfaced from the federal government has come from anecdotal accounts by members of Congress and government employees who were present.

To date, there has been no full official accounting from any agency charged with protecting the seat of our constitutional republic. One of the greatest ways to fuel the government transparency and accountability that is a cornerstone of our democracy is to guarantee the public’s right to receive information. We need our government to rectify this now as a demonstration of their commitment to the public’s right and need to know.

Further, the American people – through the journalists RTDNA represents, whose constitutional obligation is to seek and report the truth on behalf of the public – have a compelling need to be aware of what authorities know about planned civil unrest and further insurrection in Washington and state capitals in the days leading up to Inauguration Day January 20, and what the public, including journalists, can and should do to protect themselves.

To be clear, RTDNA is not seeking information about specific law enforcement operational means and methods designed to protect individuals and government buildings in the future. Rather, it is seeking details on precisely what happened January 6 in Washington and what is known about planned disruptions on or about January 20. This request is in alignment with RTDNA’s Five Point Policy Framework, an effort designed to ensure responsible journalists are able to seek and report the truth on behalf of the public.

Also, RTDNA commends Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, for appointing a task force specifically to investigate crimes that targeted journalists at the Capitol January 6.

The Radio Television Digital News Association (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.