Capitol Police watch activists react to the U.S. Supreme Court's 2022 ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization case in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images via AFP)

CPJ’s guide to legal rights in the U.S. prepares journalists for election coverage

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The 2024 United States presidential election is only four months away amid intensifying hostilities toward journalists across the country and around the world.

On the eve of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has developed a U.S. legal guide for election coverage to ensure that journalists know their rights while covering political events, protests, and interfacing with law enforcement officers. 

This is one of many tools CPJ has developed to ensure newsrooms and freelancers in the U.S. are prepared to report the upcoming U.S. election, which will undoubtedly have global repercussions.

CPJ’s U.S. Presidential Election 2024 journalist safety kit covers significant security concerns journalists may confront in the lead-up to the election, as well as on election day, while our safety and emergencies resources include advice for journalists on situational awareness and preventing and managing online abuse amid an increasingly hostile environment for the press. 

🔎 Read our guide to legal rights in the U.S.

➡️ Access our safety kit | En Español

💻 Attend “Journalist safety covering the election: Protests, policing and crowds” on Tuesday, July 9, a webinar to equip journalists with safety tools to cover the U.S. elections

📽️ Watch “Truth, Lies and the Free Press,” the first event in our U.S. Election Discussion Series

Global press freedom updates 

  • CPJ welcomes investigation of prosecutor linked to murder case of journalist Garry Tesse
  • U.K.-based journalist Shafiur Rahman decries Bangladesh authorities’ ‘harassment by proxy’
  • Authorities detain 2 Ugandan journalists on charges of publishing without license
  • Malian journalist Yeri Bocoum missing after covering banned protest
  • North Macedonia journalist Lepa Dzhundeva threatened with sexual, physical violence
  • Russian journalist Timofei Ilyushin held for 2 days in Transnistria
  • Chinese authorities arrest 2 ethnic Kazakh TV journalists in Xinjiang
  • Myanmar journalist Htet Aung sentenced to 5 years in prison under counterterrorism law


Guatemalan journalist José Rubén Zamora arrives handcuffed for a hearing at the Justice Palace in Guatemala City on May 15, 2024. (Photo: AFP/Johan Ordonez)

CPJ welcomes the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s expert finding that journalists Evan Gershkovich and José Rubén Zamora are being held arbitrarily by Russia and Guatemala respectively, and should be immediately released. 

The legal experts’ review of the facts in both cases reiterate CPJ and others’ documentation and demands for Gershkovich and Zamora’s immediate release.

The UN panel found that the arrest of Wall Street Journal reporter Gershkovich “lacked a legal basis,” is “arbitrary,” and was “in fact designed to punish his reporting” on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Gershkovich’s trial started June 26, 2024, in the Sverdlovsk Regional Court in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg. The next hearing is scheduled for August 13.

In respect to Zamora’s case, the UN expert group declared the continued detention of the president of elPeriódico newspaper is arbitrary and in violation of international law. Zamora was handed a six-year prison sentence in June 2023 on money laundering charges, which was overturned on appeal in October 2023. Although a retrial was ordered, the case has been beset by numerous delays, and Zamora has been in detention since his July 2022 arrest.

“The U.N. Working Group’s acknowledgment of José Rubén Zamora’s arbitrary detention highlights that he has been consistently denied a fair trial, and there is no justification for his ongoing imprisonment,” said Cristina Zahar, CPJ’s Latin America program coordinator.

In March, CPJ submitted an urgent appeal to the same group of experts regarding the incidence of Palestinian journalists arbitrarily held by Israel. 

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