U.S. Press Freedom Tracker newsletter: February 2, 2018

February 2, 2018

This is a copy of the email sent to newsletter subscribers on February 2, 2018. To subscribe to the newsletter, enter your email in the newsletter sign-up box at the bottom of this page.

Welcome to the first 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.

The Press Freedom Tracker has documented and analyzed more than 100 press freedom incidents between Jan. 1, 2017 and Dec. 31, 2017.

34 arrests last year

In 2017, there were 34 arrests of journalists and 44 physical attacks against journalists in the United States. The majority of arrests (88%) and attacks (70%) occurred at protests and demonstrations. In 16 cases, journalists covering protesters were attacked by the protesters themselves. On the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker blog, managing editor Peter Sterne analyzes the data from the Tracker’s first year to highlight disturbing trends facing journalists in the United States, and reporter Camille Fassett looks at how Donald Trump has treated the press since his inauguration.

Eight journalists face criminal charges

Eight journalists in the United States currently face criminal charges. The journalist facing the most serious charges is Aaron Cantú, who arrested while covering the #J20 protests against Donald Trump’s inauguration. The government has accused him of aiding and abetting the small number of protesters who caused property damage, and a grand jury indicted him last year on multiple felony counts of rioting and destruction of property.

When politicians attack

President Trump hasn’t punched any journalists yet — but the same cannot be said for two other politicians! According to the Tracker, two politicians assaulted members of the press in 2017. On May 2, 2017, Alaska state senator David Wilson slapped Alaska Dispatch News reporter Nathaniel Herz, while Herz was trying to interview him. Just a few weeks later, Montana congressional candidate Greg Gianforte body-slammed Guardian U.S. reporter Ben Jacobs, after Jacobs asked him a question about healthcare policy. Gianforte went on to win the election — he’s now Montana’s sole congressman — and later apologized to Jacobs. He was charged with misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to community service.

Latest incidents

We’re only one month into 2018, but we’ve already witnessed a number of press freedom incidents.

  • On January 28, a man was arrested after he repeatedly called CNN headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and threatened to kill CNN employees. According to the FBI, the man made 22 separate calls — during which he used racial slurs, called CNN “fake news,” and said that he would drive to Georgia and gun down all of CNN’s employees.

Thanks for subscribing to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker newsletter! If you would like to directly support the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker project, you can click here to donate to the Freedom of the Press Foundation. You can also follow the Tracker on Twitter (@USPressTracker) and on Facebook.