Democrats introduce resolution condemning acts of violence against the press

Democrats introduce resolution condemning acts of violence against the press
© Greg Nash

Two Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday unveiled a resolution aimed at condemning acts of violence against reporters and threats to freedom of the press in the United States.

Reps. Mary Gay ScanlonMary Gay ScanlonClark rolls out endorsements in assistant Speaker race Eyes turn to Ocasio-Cortez as she seeks to boost Biden What factors will shape Big Tech regulation? MORE (D-Pa.) and House Intelligence Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSchiff to subpoena top DHS official, alleges whistleblower deposition is being stonewalled Schiff claims DHS is blocking whistleblower's access to records before testimony GOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power MORE (D-Calif.) introduced the measure in response to numerous incidents of journalists being targeted by law enforcement officials while covering protests and violence that took place following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed in police custody.

The resolution recognizes “the threats to press freedom" in the U.S. amid recent protests while "reaffirming the centrality of a free and independent press to the health of democracy, and reaffirming freedom of the press as a priority of the United States in promoting democracy, human rights, and good governance."

ADVERTISEMENT

The measure condemns the use of “tear gas, pepper spray or pepper balls, or rubber bullets” against journalists “despite displaying press credentials and identifying themselves as members of the press.”

The resolution highlights several violent incidents, including the police firing projectiles “directly at an MSNBC reporter and camera crew,” the on-air arrest of CNN’s Omar Jimenez – a black and Latino journalist — while he was covering the protests in Minneapolis, and a KPCC/LAist reporter being shot by Long Beach police with a rubber bullet in the throat.

Scanlon said she believes that having a free and open press to cover events like the protests is “the lifeblood of democracy” and a critical component in holding the government accountable.

"Assaults on members of the press or attempts to limit their ability to report on government actions are unacceptable in a free society,” she said in a statement.

“Additionally, the press must be exempt from curfew restrictions so that journalists can report freely and our resolution addresses both of these issues.”

Schiff echoed Scanlon’s sentiments, saying he believes it’s crucial that reporters aren’t put in the way of unnecessary dangerous situations.

“Journalists are being assaulted, tear-gassed, detained, and arrested on American soil, and black reporters are even more at risk. A free press is essential to any democracy, and reporters need to do their jobs safely. The press are not the enemy – unless you fear the truth,” he said in a statement.