In recent weeks, journalists—both domestic and international—have been subject to unparalleled attacks on press freedom across the U.S. Several of these incidents have involved the detention and arrest of people who identified themselves as members of the press. Others have been considerably more violent, involving the targeting of journalists with rubber bullets and chemical irritants. A photojournalist was permanently blinded in one eye as a result. Like Floyd’s death, many of these incidents have been caught on camera.
For foreign media, who have been among those assaulted, targeted with rubber bullets and tear gas, and arrested, the government’s response to the protests—upwards of 400 media-freedoms violations have been reported since the demonstrations began—is shifting perceptions of what it means to be a journalist in America.
[Robert Mahoney, the deputy executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists] called the scale of these attacks “unprecedented,” noting that six times as many journalists have been arrested in recent weeks in the U.S. as compared with all of last year. “Our security experts, who help journalists around the world, say they haven’t seen police behavior as bad as this since Tahrir Square, during the Arab uprising in 2011,” he said. Among those affected were journalists from foreign broadcasters, prompting governments in Australia, Germany, and Russia to issue formal responses.