A pair of recent events have put journalists covering protests at the center of investigations by law enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security. First, in Seattle, journalists from The Seattle Times and four local TV stations went to court to prevent the city’s police department from viewing their unpublished photos and videos.
Police say they want to see the material in order to identify people who set squad cars on fire and stole two police weapons in a May protest that turned chaotic. The police department’s subpoena and a judge’s decision that the material must be turned over has drawn widespread criticism from media advocacy groups, who call it a violation of press freedoms.
It was also revealed last week that the Department of Homeland Security had been compiling intelligence dossiers on journalists writing about protests in Portland. The Washington Post reported on these DHS intelligence reports, which were focused on two journalists who tweeted out leaked documents from the agency, once more raising concerns about challenges to press freedoms. (read more)