New York Times photojournalist Victor J. Blue works during demonstrations in reaction to the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 30, 2020. CPJ published an Editors’ Checklist to help commissioners and editors prepare for U.S. protest assignments. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

At least 400 press freedom violations reported in U.S. over 15 days of protests

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Since protests against police brutality erupted across the U.S. on May 26–sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black civilian, in Minneapolis police custody–there have been over 400 U.S. incidents of press freedom violations reported to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, of which CPJ is a founding partner. In a new Op-Ed, CPJ Advocacy Director Courtney Radsch argues that law enforcement must be held accountable, as they have perpetrated the majority of attacks against journalists at protests.

CPJ and scores of domestic and international groups sent a letter to President Trump, and separately to U.S. governors, calling on them to speak out forcefully against attacks on journalists covering protests. Last week, CPJ’s board sent a rare letter to U.S. governors, mayors, and police chiefs calling on them to halt assaults on journalists.

Outside the U.S., following an announcement from the Cameroonian military last week that journalist Samuel Wazizi died in custody in August 2019, CPJ joined a call for the Cameroonian government to account for the journalist’s death. It calls for an investigation into Wazizi’s treatment while in custody, and demands that those responsible be held accountable.

Global press freedom updates

  • Nigerian journalist held under cybercrime act for COVID-19 coverage; separately in Nigeria, a journalist is in hiding after police arrest and question reporters on his whereabouts
  • Burundi court rejects imprisoned Iwacu journalists’ appeal
  • Brazilian Senate to vote on ‘fake news’ bill
  • Anti-terrorism legislation threatens press freedom in the Philippines
  • Office of independent TV station 3 Kanal firebombed in Kyrgyzstan
  • Turkish police arrest two journalists in espionage investigation
  • Palestinian security forces arrest journalist Sami al-Saie in the West Bank
  • Journalists assaulted, detained while covering COVID-19 protest in Iraqi Kurdistan
  • Indonesian journalist held since early May on criminal defamation charge
  • Slovenian reporter Eugenija Carl receives threatening letter with white powder
  • Bolivian journalist takes leave of absence citing government intimidation
  • Chilean Supreme Court orders Radio Bío Bío to remove content from website
  • CPJ joins call to strengthen EU legislation on dual-use technologies


Starting June 11, CPJ Emergencies is partnering on a new series of free webinars for journalists covering the protests that includes legal training, physical and digital safety advice, and information on how to manage trauma. The project is a collaboration with PEN America, the International Women’s Media Foundation, Freedom of the Press Foundation, and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. Find more information on the webinars here.

The ACOS Alliance, of which CPJ is a member, has stressed the importance of safety protocols for news organizations, particularly those that work with freelancers. CPJ’s Advocacy Director, Courtney Radsch published a piece for IJNet highlighting the importance of these protocols in the midst of the pandemic. In line with this, CPJ Emergencies recently published an editors’ checklist for those assigning reporters to cover the protests.

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