U.S. Press Freedom Tracker newsletter: April 30, 2018

April 30, 2018

This is a copy of the email sent to newsletter subscribers on April 30, 2018. To subscribe to the newsletter, click here.

Hello,

Welcome to the latest edition of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker newsletter!

You’re receiving this email because you signed up for updates from the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, a project of the Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Committee to Protect Journalists that documents press freedom incidents in the United States. Starting in May, this newsletter will be sent out twice a month.

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So far in 2018, the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker has recorded:

  • 2 journalists arrested
  • 2 equipment seizures
  • 8 journalists attacked
  • 0 border stops
  • 9 subpoenas


Latest incidents

Check out a few of the most recent incidents documented by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker:

  • On March 12, an unidentified man attacked a KGTV reporter and her cameraman while she was in the middle of an on-air segment on the street in San Diego, California. The man lunged at her and then knocked the camera to the ground.
  • On March 27, former FBI agent Terry Albury was charged with leaking documents to journalists at The Intercept. Among other things, the documents that he allegedly leaked reveal how the FBI secretly spies on reporters. On April 17, Albury pleaded guilty to two felony counts under the Espionage Act.
  • On March 28, New York Daily News reporter Ken Lovett was arrested in the lobby of the New York State Senate in Albany, New York for talking on a cell phone. (Cell phone use is technically banned in the lobby, though the rule is routinely flouted.) Lovett was released after the State Senate said that it would not press charges.


Journalist Manuel Duran arrested, now faces deportation 

On April 3, journalist Manuel Duran was arrested and taken to jail while covering an immigration protest in Memphis, Tennessee. Two days later, all charges against Duran were dropped, but he wasn’t released from jail. Instead, he was transferred into the custody of Immigration & Customs Enforcement, which initiated deportation proceedings against him. ICE says that Duran, who immigrated from El Salvador to the U.S. in 2006, missed an immigration court hearing in 2007 and was ordered to be deported. Duran and his lawyers say that he was never informed about the 2007 court hearing and that ICE is now retaliating against him for his critical coverage of the agency. Duran is currently being held in an immigration detention facility in Louisiana.

New Hampshire demands access to unpublished interview

On January 29, a district attorney in New Hampshire filed a motion to compel newspaper reporter Brian Early to hand over material related to an interview he conducted with Joshua Flynn, a man on trial for sexual assault. Early interviewed Flynn last June, but Foster’s Daily Democrat — the newspaper where he works — never published it. On April 2, a judge ruled that the government cannot force the paper to turn over the interview. The district attorney was not happy about the judge’s decision in favor of the paper. Following the ruling, he accused Early and the paper of “functionally protecting a rapist” by refusing to hand over unpublished information that could help the government’s case against Flynn. Greg Sullivan, the attorney representing the paper, responded to the district attorney’s absurd accusation: “The job of the government is to prosecute the criminal case. The job of the press is to report on that prosecution, not to participate as an arm of the government.”

Interview attempt ends in highway car chase

On February 7, NJ Advance Media reporter Stephen Stirling and photographer Andrew Mills drove to the New Jersey home of Joseph Fantasia, a funeral director who had been accused of mistreating dead bodies. Stirling was working on a big investigation into Fantasia and wanted to try to interview him. But when Fantasia saw the two journalists, he got in his SUV and drove toward the journalists.

Stirling and Mills drove away, but Fantasia and a neighbor followed them — chasing the journalists first around the neighborhood and then onto the highway, where they cut off traffic and cornered Stirling and Mills. Fantasia then got out of his SUV and began walking toward Stirling and Mills’ car. That’s when two off-duty cops, who happened to be in the car behind Stirling and Mills, intervened to keep the peace. “I don’t know what would have happened if they weren’t there,” Stirling told the Freedom of the Press Foundation. “They made the best out of what was a bad, scary situation.”


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