Committee to Protect Journalists recommends reporters covering inauguration avoid wearing press lanyards

Committee to Protect Journalists recommends reporters covering inauguration avoid wearing press lanyards
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The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Thursday issued a safety advisory for journalists covering President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBriahna Joy Gray: White House thinks extending student loan pause is a 'bad look' Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Former New York state Senate candidate charged in riot MORE’s inauguration next week, recommending against press lanyards and conspicuous clothing.

The group cites an attack on Associated Press photographer John Minchillo last week by pro-Trump rioters in Washington to argue against the wearing of lanyards around reporters’ necks, recommending they instead wear credentials on Velcro pouches around their biceps.

It also cites the events of last week to recommend battery-powered equipment rather than equipment with cables, which could be used to attack reporters. The advisory references the deliberate destruction and damage to recording equipment at the riots and urges journalists to “take the minimum amount of equipment necessary with you.”

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“Wear clothing that helps you ‘blend in,’ that doesn’t look too ‘tactical’ or ‘military,’ and that allows you to move swiftly,” the advisory adds. “Try and avoid loose clothing, political slogans, media branding, military colors/patterns, colors associated with certain groups (e.g. black is associated with anti-fascist [antifa] groups), and flammable materials (e.g. nylon).”

Journalists should tie up long hair, wear laced, hard-soled shoes and ensure that, if they travel by personal vehicle, they park facing an escape route.

The advisory further advises journalists to be prepared for other hazards such as pepper spray, tear gas, impact projectiles and water cannons that could be used by law enforcement when responding to unruly crowds.

It further suggests that reporters gauge the mood of a crowd before approaching them and avoid any that appear angry, emotional or intoxicated and, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, be cognizant of the potential of people nearby to cough or sneeze deliberately or accidentally.

“If individuals or the crowd in general becomes hostile to the media, it may help to deliberately avoid eye contact and to stop taking pictures/filming,” the CPJ wrote. “You will need to balance the risk versus reward, but engagement of any sort can be perceived as a challenge.”

The advisory follows a report from the Freedom of the Press Foundation in December that found the journalists detained in the U.S. increased 1,200 percent from the previous year.