U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

No Jedi Mind Tricks | Our May 2019 Newsletter

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Published On
May 1, 2019

This is a copy of the email sent to newsletter subscribers on May 1, 2019. To subscribe to the newsletter, click here.

Friends of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker:

Welcome back to your monthly newsletter around press freedom violations in the U.S.

As a Texan who loves Star Wars, the back-to-back celebrations around May the Fourth (Be With You) and Cinco de Mayo confirm it’s going to be a great month. Before we get to the weekend, however, this Friday is an equally large touchstone.

World Press Freedom Day | Friday, May 3, 2019

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is marking World Press Freedom Day this year by releasing its second annual review of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker — Press Freedoms in the United States in 2018. The Reporters Committee is one of the founding groups of the Tracker and is a member of the steering committee. This annual review puts the work we do here into context.

The comparative report notes the Tracker’s collection of 13 instances in 2018 where reporters or media organizations were denied access to information. Last month, we tracked another in Nashville, Tennessee, where state troopers blocked reporters from covering a protest and threatened them with arrest.

We track these cases in the Denial of Access category, and have 6 cases affecting 13 journalists so far in 2019.

You can read the entire report online Friday.

And for a great primer on World Press Freedom Day, read this column by Joel Simon, executive director the Committee to Protect Journalists: The absurdity of World Press Freedom Day: A brief history, published in Columbia Journalism Review last year. (Both CJR and CPJ are also founding partners of the Tracker, and CPJ chairs the Tracker steering committee.)

All the Updates

In addition to tracking press freedom violations as they occur, the Tracker also updates previously published cases — a task that only grows in scope the longer the Tracker operates.

This month, we updated several cases, including these:

  • Scott Rodd, a reporter arrested while covering a protest march in Sacramento, California, tagged us on Twitter to show a notification from the Sacramento police department, which had downgraded his arrest to a detention (the charges had previously been dropped).
  • In another update from the Twittersphere, a judge dismissed one motion in a suit from Jason Miller, President Trump’s former advisor. The complicated defamation suit involves a subpoena for the communications of journalist J. Arthur Bloom, including his Facebook messages and emails. While the motion dismisses Miller’s claim against a podcast co-host, the suit against Gizmodo media group is ongoing, with no word yet on the outcome of the subpoena.
  • This denial of access case from January, when the president took to Twitter to justify the cessation of press briefings, also warranted an update when April 23 marked a new record for longest days without a press briefing (43). Today will bring the record to 51 days.
  • Almost a year after being arrested while documenting a Trump rally, photojournalist Nebyou Solomon filed a lawsuit against the Las Vegas police for unlawful search and seizure and violations of due process.

To tag us on Twitter for updates, incidents, or just to say hi, find us @uspresstracker. Otherwise, I’ll see you next month.

Managing Editor, USPFT

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World Press Freedom Day | Friday, May 3, 2019

Tennessee Highway Patrol blocks reporters from covering protest, threaten with arrest

All the Updates

Three journalists arrested while covering Stephon Clark protest in Sacramento        

Journalist subpoenaed for reporting materials by Jason Miller, Trump’s former adviser        

Trump stops regular press briefings, citing unfair media treatment

Photojournalist Nebyou Solomon arrested at Trump rally