Journalists Become Targets of Violence During Protests

Jennifer Hodges
May 31, 2020 - 3:27 pm

    With protests across the country and heightened emotions due to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police, journalists have become the target of violence.

    From being hit with rubber bullets by police officers to news vans vandalized, being on the scene as a reporter right now can be harrowing. 

    Katie Townsend is the legal director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and she told KCBS Radio that while some incidents involve protesters, it’s the violence from law enforcement that’s shocked her.

    “What’s really been shocking for myself and my colleagues in the last 48 hours is that we’ve seen what appears to be deliberate, or at least knowing, targeting of journalists by law enforcement,” she said.

    Townsend emphasized how important it is for journalists to have situational awareness when covering protests to remain safe, and encourages them to be upfront about their purpose.

    “I do think that there are journalists who have that instinct to blend in with the crowd,” she said. “But certainly in the training we provide, we instruct them to identify themselves clearly.”

    Townsend added that journalists have a first amendment right to cover public events. 

    Half a dozen incidents involving journalists were reported Friday alone, including the wrongful arrest of a CNN crew.