Senator Markey, colleagues introduce press freedom resolution

Calls on officials to thoroughly investigate any instances of violence committed

against the media, whether perpetrated by members of law enforcement or others

From America’s Newspapers

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) has announced introduction of a Senate resolution condemning attacks against members of the media and reaffirming the centrality of a free and independent press and peaceful assembly to the health of democracy in the United States. The resolution comes in the wake of the arrest on May 29 of CNN reporters covering protests in Minnesota. This was just one of dozens of reported instances of journalists and photographers being roughly handled by police officers while covering nationwide protests even after having identified themselves as members of the press.

The resolution is co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

“We cannot protect our democracy if we do not protect our press,” said Senator Markey. “Targeting the media and perpetrating violence against them or protestors is un-American and requires our full and vocal condemnation. This resolution is an unequivocal statement from the Senate that we support our journalists, recognize the critical value of their work, and will promote accountability for anyone interfering with their duties.”

A copy of the resolution can be found HERE.

The Senate resolution reaffirms the commitment of the Senate to the constitutional protections of freedom of the press and peaceful assembly. It condemns violence committed against people of the United States exercising their right to free speech and peaceful assembly, including journalists and members of the media, whether that violence is committed by government officials or anyone else and condemns actions on the part of any local, state or federal authorities to limit, restrict or in any way prevent members of the media from performing their jobs. It also calls on local, state and federal authorities to take steps to ensure that members of the media are able to safely perform their duties without interference, censorship, threats of violence or physical harm and to explicitly exempt the news media from any curfew regulations. It calls on officials to thoroughly investigate any instances of violence committed against the media, whether perpetrated by members of law enforcement or otherwise.

The resolution is supported by Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, PEN America and Freedom House.  America’s Newspapers applauds this effort as well.

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