As it has done for the political conventions over the last 40 years, the Reporters Committee will maintain journalist hotlines during the upcoming Republican and Democratic national conventions this summer. The Republican convention will be held July 18-21 in Cleveland, and the Democrats will meet July 25-28 in Philadelphia.
The Reporters Committee hotlines are staffed by local lawyers who will be available to help if a journalist gets swept up in an arrest during protests or other convention activity. Lawyers from Levine Sullivan in Philadelphia and BakerHostetler in Cleveland will head up the hotline teams this year. Specific details, including numbers to call and information on what to do if you are arrested while covering the events, will be available on the Reporters Committee's site in early July.
The national conventions always draw a large number of protesters, and there is every reason to believe that this summer's events will be more controversial and contentious than ever.
The 2012 conventions were the first in 20 years that did not see an arrest of a journalist. Police officials in both Charlotte, N.C., which hosted the Democratic convention, and in Tampa, Fla., which hosted the Republican event, had made commitments to work with journalists, including representatives of the Reporters Committee and its hotline law firms, before the events.
The 2008 Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn., was one of the worst ever for reporters, with at least 40 arrests of journalists. Amy Goodman, host of "Democracy Now!," was arrested with two of her producers during a demonstration they were covering. They ended up settling a civil rights suit for a reported $100,000.