SPJ Georgia Condemns Violence Against Journalists Covering George Floyd Protests

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: Charlotte Norsworthy, SPJ Georgia President, charlottefnorsworthy@gmail.com

ATLANTA — The Georgia Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists strongly condemns the deliberate and unprovoked violence against journalists across the country covering protests of George Floyd’s wrongful death. 

This statement follows an SPJ Georgia statement from May 29 condemning the arrest of CNN reporters in Minneapolis. 

In the past 24 hours, journalists all over the U.S. have been shot with rubber bullets by police and sprayed with tear gas at point-blank range, along with further unlawful arrests and acts of violence.  Protesters have also attacked journalists and news buildings, such as the CNN building in Atlanta. 

These egregious crimes against journalists are unacceptable and are a clear violation of press freedoms. Targeted attacks and acts of intimidation show a complete disregard for the crucial role journalists have in documenting public concerns. 

SPJ Georgia’s stance on protecting the safety of journalists in the field is in no way meant to divert attention from the ongoing racism and violence plaguing communities of color in the U.S. However, SPJ Georgia is committed to ensuring that our journalists are able to safely tell the crucial story at-hand without being subjected to ruthless and deliberate violence. 

The Poynter Institute has released a detailed resource list of safety guidelines for journalists continuing to cover protests across the country in the coming days. Tips include avoiding wearing press credentials on a lanyard, as they can be used “to strangle you in a scrum.” 

SPJ Georgia advises journalists to consult these tips along with CPJ’s safety notes for covering civil unrest on how to minimize the risk of reporting on protests. SPJ Georgia also encourages journalists to know their rights if unlawfully arrested or detained while covering a protest, via the Columbia Journalism Review.

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