June overview

Our June 2020 Newsletter

June 1, 2020

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Friends of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker:

Welcome back to your monthly newsletter around press freedom violations in the United States.

A lot of the information I wanted to share with you in this month’s update has been eclipsed by the events of the last week. As riots spread like wildfire across the country, an unprecedented targeting of journalists — by both law enforcement and protesters — have filled our news feeds.

The Tracker is exceptionally poised to document these aggressions, and rest assured our small team is working as quickly as possible to create a meticulous accounting of what will be a watershed moment for freedom of the press in our country.

Say his name: George Floyd protests

To put some perspective on the unprecedented nature of the weekend's attacks on journalists, the Tracker documented 100-150 press freedom violations in the United States per year, for the last 3 years. We are currently investigating more than 100 from just the last three days.

We’re coordinating with partners to compile incidents, which can be found here as published.

And because I always work ahead, here is the rest of your regularly scheduled newsletter.

Harassment from Arizona to Wisconsin

At the beginning of the month in Ohio, a reporter covering a protest of the state’s reopening guidelines was harassed by a woman in such close proximity — despite being asked to back away — that the reporter felt her spittle. A few days later, two reporters from The Arizona Republic and a news crew were harassed while awaiting President Donald Trump’s visit to a mask plant in Phoenix. A few days after that, the president amplified protesters’ chants of “Fake news is not essential” by retweeting a video of a journalist being harassed in New York. A few days after that, well, you get the idea. We’re collecting these instances of journalists being harassed for wearing masks and while covering COVID-related protests in one place:

Read: Journalists face harassment while covering coronavirus

Also Documented by the Tracker

An Illinois man is arrested after grabbing a reporter during a live broadcast and shouting obscenities at her; A different Illinois man, upset that he may have been inadvertently filmed, assaults a photojournalist and smashes his news camera; In Memphis, a nonprofit journalist blocked from the mayor’s email list sues to gain access. Find all incidents here.

WQAD assault equip damage

All the Updates

In addition to reporting press freedom violations as they happen, we continuously update our database as incidents evolve.

Be safe, friends.

Kirstin McCudden

Managing Editor, U.S. Press Freedom Tracker