Journalists arrested and taken into custody and/or charged with a crime. Journalists who are still facing charges as of August 2, 2017 are included in this category even if the charges were filed in a previous year.
Journalists stopped at the border and subjected to prolonged, invasive questioning or who have their electronic devices searched or are asked to provide passwords. We count border stops even if we are unable to draw a direct connection between the stop and the journalist’s work activities, because the resistance of U.S. authorities to provide information makes it extremely difficult to identify the motive and because invasive questioning or device searches could jeopardize source confidentiality no matter the motive. Not every stop at the border is a press freedom violation, but we believe it is essential to capture patterns related to these stops. This category also includes cases where journalists are prevented from entering the country if it appears that their inability to enter the country is related to their work.
Subpoenas issued by government prosecutors or agencies ordering journalists to testify in court. Subpoenas requested by private parties will not be included. This category also includes legal orders for the production of journalist records or work product, which may be targeted at journalists or at third parties who have access to the work product. Because many subpoenas are not publicly reported and legal orders for journalist records are conducted with high levels of secrecy, the numbers in this category are likely to underestimate actual cases.
Government employees or contractors investigated or prosecuted for disclosing information to journalists or media platforms. This category does not include leak cases where information was not leaked to the media.
Journalists’ equipment searched or seized by law enforcement in the course of their work.
Journalists who face physical violence and injury or equipment damage, either as the result of a targeted attack by a public or private individual or in the course of their work. If a journalist is hit by rubber bullets or bean bag rounds, it will be counted in this category.
Journalists affected by tear gas, pepper spray, or other mass riot control agents will be counted if the individual suffers serious injury or appears to have been specifically targeted. Incidents that fall outside these parameters and in which multiple journalists were affected by riot control agents may be counted in the “other” category.
Denial of access to government events that are traditionally open or attended by the press and where the denial of access either deprives the public of significant information, appears to be retaliatory, or is done without meaningful justification. Concrete changes in policy or practice to restrict or deny access may also be included in this category.
Denial of access to individuals in some cases, such as where the available space limits the number of journalists allowed to attend or where individuals arguing for access do not meet reasonable standards for credentials, can be seen as meaningful justifications and will not be included.
Selected public threats made to reporters and media organizations by U.S. politicians and other public figures, which can have a chilling effect on journalism.
Incidents that fall outside of the above categories. Editorial discretion will determine whether such incidents reach our threshold. Incidents that may be counted in this category include prior restraint, detentions that do not result in charges or arrest, clearly abusive lawsuits, harassment, and vandalism.
Damage to a journalist’s equipment or property, either as the result of a targeted attack by a public or private individual or in the course of their work.