In the event of a fire, disaster, or violence, imagine an emergency responder running towards danger rather than escaping it.
But there is one group that we don’t really admit. They are siren-free and journalists rushing into dangerous scenes with notepads, tablets, cameras and smartphones. This gives you an idea of what is at stake, what options you have, and what resources you have access to.
Journalists routinely endanger their health and safety in order to cover important events. Also, under current California law, reporters should go to places where police have banned public access to cover events of high public interest, such as wildfires, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. I can. SB 98 expands permissions to include areas that were blocked during demonstrations, marches, protests, and rallies.
However, in the last few years, there have been too many cases of police targeting authorized journalists to report important articles. Journalists have been the target of actions aimed at obstructing the press rather than maintaining public safety. The equipment used against them was arrested rather than irritating them, despite tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, police batons, and clear evidence that they covered the event. is included.
At its second session, the California State Legislature passed a bill calling for the media to be protected from such attacks. This year, Congress passed SB98, created by Senator Mike McGuire of D-Healdsburg, to address law enforcement concerns contained in Governor Newsom’s 2020 veto message. McGuire’s bill codifies the right of the news media to continue protesting after the curfew and dissolution order. It prohibits officers from assaulting journalists or interfering with their ability to collect and / or process news. And it gives the press the ability to facilitate police detention appeals against commanders.
The California News Publishers Association, California Broadcasting Corporation, California Black Media, Ethnic Media Services, the Constitutional Amendment Article 1 Union, and state-wide media outlets require the Governor to sign SB98.
Senator McGuire’s bill is increasingly foresighted by recent events. The public witnessed an unjustified police assault on reporters reporting the protest. The police attack took place after reporters clearly identified themselves as members of the official press.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning LA journalist suffered a head injury when pushed into a fire hydrant. A San Diego Union-Tribune reporter was shot with a pepper ball. A Santa Monica NPR reporter was shot with a rubber bullet while holding her press badge over her head. Officers detained a KPIX5 news reporter in Oakland while she reported a peaceful protest in high school.
Such a big fire goes against our democratic way of life. Citizens consider local journalism to be the most reliable source of stories about what is happening in the community. If the witness narrator, forced or not, is locked out of the scene, the public is denied the right to know and the expectation of accountability that underlies American free press.
For democracy, the news media needs access to turbulent historic moments that affect our community, especially those that raise awareness of important issues and affect public safety. I have. Failure to protect first responders who record these events is not only detrimental to the general public. It also means a police station that has already flagged public trust.
California cannot afford such a result. So this year, the governor needs to take the last step. Sign the bill. Protect journalists. Protect local journalism.
Charles F. Champion II is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the 450-member California News Publishers Association, which protects the news media’s right to report and distribute news, all about freedom of speech and press. Promotes the constitutional rights of Californians.
Protect press access to critical events without threat of police action – Press Telegram Source link Protect press access to critical events without threat of police action – Press Telegram