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Reporters Committee legal hotline available for inauguration coverage

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The free hotline will work with criminal defense attorneys in D.C. and 10 states in preparation for armed protests.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Legal Hotline is available for journalists covering President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and related protests reportedly planned to take place in Washington, D.C., and at state capitols nationwide.

The free hotline will be staffed by Reporters Committee attorneys in Washington, D.C., from Jan. 17 to Inauguration Day. Attorneys will also be available to help journalists who may face legal issues in Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Tennessee — as part of our Local Legal Initiative — as well as Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Washington and Wisconsin.

If you have legal questions about reporting on the inauguration or run into issues while covering protests, contact the Reporters Committee Legal Hotline through our online form or, for after-hours emergencies, at 1-800-336-4243.

The free hotline can provide assistance on a variety of issues, from media law inquiries to arrests of journalists.

Journalists who are reporting on potential demonstrations and armed protests related to the inauguration can learn more about the risks they may face and how to stay safe in the Reporters Committee’s Police, Protesters and the Press guide. The Reporters Committee’s tip sheet for covering protests also includes important safety information in the event of violence.

Below is a list of additional helpful resources from other organizations:

Committee to Protect Journalists – Physical Safety: Civil Disorder and Safety Advisory for Inauguration Protests

Radio Television Digital News Association – SAFE Journalist Training & Resources

National Press Photographers Association – Tips to Prepare and Know Your Journalistic Rights on Evidence and Critical Stress Help Sheet

Electronic Frontier Foundation – Digital Security Advice

International Women’s Media Foundation – Emergency Fund

International Journalists’ Network – Tips for Covering Anti-democratic Extremism in the U.S.

The Reporters Committee regularly files friend-of-the-court briefs and its attorneys represent journalists and news organizations pro bono in court cases that involve First Amendment freedoms, the newsgathering rights of journalists and access to public information. Stay up-to-date on our work by signing up for our monthly newsletter and following us on Twitter or Instagram.

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