The work of America’s journalists is indispensable to democracy. That is why the freedom of the press is enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Yet we live in an era when members of government portray America’s press as “enemies of the people”, encouraging vast audiences to target working journalists with intimidation and violence. The effects have been chilling.
In 2017-18 alone, dozens of violent assaults and murders were committed on American journalists , on American soil. It is impossible for journalists to effectively exercise their first amendment duty under these conditions.
To remedy this, federal law needs to be modified to empower federal authorities to prosecute and punish those that seek to intimidate and attack the members of the working press.
We are asking you to support H.R.4935 – The Journalist Protection Act. The bill would make it a federal crime to intentionally cause bodily injury to a journalist engaged in reporting or with the intention of intimidating the journalist or impeding news-gathering. It calls for punishment of up to six years in prison for those convicted of this crime.
Thank you for considering our views and we urge your support for this important legislation.