The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, journalists and media executives for press freedom, along with IPI’s North American Committee, condemn in the strongest possible terms the numerous verbal and physical attacks against journalists who covered the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.
Journalists were targeted by members of a pro-Trump mob, insulted, threatened and even physically attacked. Equipment was destroyed by protesters shouting at the news media and chanting “CNN sucks”; the words “Murder the media” were scratched into a door of the Capitol.
IPI-NAC recognizes the courage of those members of the media who covered the assault on the U.S. Capitol. It is entirely unacceptable that journalists who uphold the public interest by delivering fact-based news in a timely manner become the targets of a mob incited by a U.S. president. These assaults are an outcome of years of anti-media rhetoric by President Donald Trump and his followers, who have repeatedly portrayed independent journalists as enemies of the people. The American public learned because of the bravery of these journalists how grave a threat to democracy it was.
We call on law enforcement authorities to inform the media and the public of any ongoing threats and to protect the safety of journalists during this week’s U.S. presidential inauguration.
We urge the incoming administration of President Joseph R. Biden to work to restore the nation’s trust and respect for the practice of journalism, the rights to a free press as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and the values of openness and transparency in government in general.
As investigations continue, it also is essential that perpetrators of attacks on journalists be brought to justice.
Failing to do so would only weaken press freedom as a pillar of the U.S. democratic system.
On Jan. 27 at 5 p.m. EST, IPI and the IPI North American Committee will convene a Town Hall web meeting to highlight the rising threat of violence directed at reporters in the U.S. and discuss the best way to forge an alliance to share resources and experience that might help newsrooms to work safely in the field. This will not be a safety training, but a wider discussion on what feels like a turning point in how journalists do their work in the United States.
Join us for this important event! The Town Hall will be held via Zoom. Registration is open.
For questions, suggestions on topics and approaches that should be considered, please send an email to email@example.com. Further information, including panellists and agenda to guide the discussion, will be forthcoming.
The International Press Institute, Vienna
IPI North American Committee, New York
Markus Spillmann, President of the Executive Board, IPI
John Daniszewski, North American co-chair, Associated Press
Marty Steffens, North American co-chair, Missouri School of Journalism
Signing in their individual capacities
Bruce B. Brugmann, Founder and Editor-Publisher emeritus, San Francisco Bay Guardian
Anthony L. Fargo, Ph.D., The Media School, Indiana University
Natasha Ghoneim, Al-Jazeera Media Network
William Holstein, President, The Overseas Press Club Foundation
Kathy Kiely, Lee Hills Chair in Free Press Studies, Missouri School of Journalism
Scott Kraft, The Los Angeles Times
Simon Li, IPI Life Fellow and former vice-chair of the IPI Executive Board
Mary Jo Meisner, President, MJM Advisory Services
Kimberly Murphy, The New York Times
Charles M. Sennott, GroundTruth/Report for America
Michael Slackman, The New York Times
Mercedes Vigón, Ph.D., Associate professor and associate director of the International Media Center, Florida International University
John Yearwood, Politico
ACOS, A Culture of Safety Alliance
James W. Foley Legacy Foundation
Overseas Press Club of America
Radio Television Digital News Association