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Reporters Committee: Attack on U.S. Capitol ‘a grave threat to our democracy’

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Free press is crucial to democracy, and indeed, one of the pillars that will help keep it standing.
Photo of U.S. Capitol riot. AP photo by Jose Luis Magana
Demonstrators break TV equipment outside the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. AP Photo: Jose Luis Magana

Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, made the following statement in response to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.:

“Yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol posed a grave threat to our democracy. We owe a particular debt of gratitude to the professional and brave journalists and photographers who risked their safety to document the events as they unfolded. Like members of Congress, their staffs and others who work in the Capitol complex, these reporters work daily in those buildings, and an assault on the Capitol is an assault on them, too.

“We are deeply disturbed at the attacks, threats and rhetoric that we saw targeting reporters yesterday. Rioters at the Capitol called for violence against members of the news media, destroyed news equipment and verbally harassed journalists as the ‘enemy of the people’ — actions that not only pose a dire threat to those working tirelessly to bring information to our communities, but also to the press freedom that is a bedrock value of our nation.

“These actions are the direct result of years of this language stoking fear and hate for one of our most vital institutions. Our free press is crucial to democracy, and indeed, one of the pillars that will help keep it standing beyond this moment.

“In the days, weeks, months and years ahead, we are committed to vigorously defending the press and the public’s First Amendment rights to freely report and receive the news, and to ensuring journalists have the legal support to fulfill their constitutional responsibility.”

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.

AP Photo by Jose Luis Magana

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