U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Our May 2021 Newsletter

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Published On
May 28, 2021

Reported press freedom violations from social justice protests across the U.S. in a one-year time span

— Freedom of the Press Foundation/Harris Lapiroff

Friends of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker:

Welcome back to your monthly newsletter around press freedom violations in the United States. Find archived editions here, and get this newsletter direct in your inbox by signing up here.

Each month, this newsletter opens with a snapshot of categories from our home page. Here’s what we’ve documented so far this year.

U.S. Press Freedom Tracker
— U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

May Days

It’s impossible to talk about this May without talking about last May. For the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, the first assaults of journalists came on May 26, 2020 — one day after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis — as viral videos and ghastly details spread, sparking demonstrations in streets across America. A year later, we’ve documented more than 1,000 reported press freedom violations from national Black Lives Matter-related protests.

May 26, 2020-May 25, 2021 | 12 months of press freedom violations from Black Lives Matter-related protests

Between the Bookends

In those 365 days, we documented aggressions against journalists and journalism across more than 80 cities and 36 states. We documented more than 580 assaults of journalists, averaging 1.6 assaults per day. The majority of physical attacks — more than 85% — were by law enforcement. We documented 153 arrests or detainments of journalists. More than 100 reports of equipment damaged in the field. News organizations subpoenaed for their protest footage. And so much more.


Read my post “Between the Bookends” about the data collected and then download our API to explore it on your own. Email at editor[at]freedom[dot]press with any questions.

Watch me during a live panel at Columbia University, “Voices From the Home Front” at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 3. Register here for the virtual conversation with me and journalists who have been in the Tracker this past year:

The Job

As we’ve worked furiously to finish reporting and publishing these press freedom violations ahead of the 1-year mark, I’ve marveled at the amount of trauma that’s come across the Tracker’s doorstep. I have felt duty-bound, as a journalist, to document as thoroughly as possible. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with people and partners who share the same values. Please take a moment to support this work.

Kirstin McCudden
Managing Editor, U.S. Press Freedom Tracker