The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has established an emergency hotline for reporters covering the upcoming spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C.
Reporters who are arrested while covering protests or disturbances are encouraged to call the Reporters Committee’s News Media Hotline if they do not have legal representation. Attorneys will be on-call to handle arraignments or other procedures. The hotline number is (703) 807-2100, and is available for emergencies on a 24-hour basis. The emergency hotline will not be available to handle media credentialing disputes.
“We are not anticipating any particular threat to journalists covering the spring meetings,” said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee. “However, it is not unheard of for journalists to be arrested while doing their jobs during mass demonstrations.”
During the World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle last November, a reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer was arrested while observing protesters and charged with “failure to disperse.” He was held overnight before being released on his own recognizance. Hundreds of protesters were also arrested during the WTO meetings.
The committee also operates a national hotline for reporters with legal questions or problems at (800) 336-4243. In addition, the committee has operated emergency hotlines with local attorneys on standby at every Democratic and Republican national convention since 1972.
The Reporters Committee is a voluntary, unincorporated association of reporters and news editors dedicated to protecting the First Amendment interests of the news media. It has been providing legal information and assistance to reporters for 30 years.
More information about the hotline can be found on the Reporters Committee web site (https://www.rcfp.org) or directly at our World Bank Hotline page (https://www.rcfp.org/wbhot.html).