Asheville, North Carolina, is seen on April 7, 2021. CPJ joined a call for Asheville authorities to drop their criminal charges against two reporters. (Brian Blanco/Getty via AFP)

CPJ joins call urging authorities to drop charges against Asheville Blade reporters

The Committee to Protect Journalists joined the Freedom of the Press Foundation and over 45 other organizations in a letter on Wednesday, May 3, calling for the Buncombe County district attorney’s office to drop charges against Asheville Blade reporters Veronica Coit and Matilda Bliss.

The pair were arrested on December 25, 2021, while covering the clearing of a homeless encampment in Asheville, North Carolina. They were convicted of trespassing in a bench trial on April 19, 2023.

The journalists have appealed to a jury trial, the letter notes. Its signatories “implore the city of Asheville and Buncombe County District Attorney to respect the First Amendment and drop the charges against Bliss and Coit immediately.”

Read the full letter here.