Reporters Committee statement on assault on Ben Jacobs

Press Release | May 25, 2017

Statement from Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce Brown:

Just one day after the Reporters Committee raised nearly $2 million dollars to protect press freedom in the U.S., we see why these resources are so badly needed.

A candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Montana, Greg Gianforte, stands accused tonight of physically assaulting journalist Ben Jacobs of The Guardian. Jacobs has reported the incident to local authorities, who are investigating.

As speakers said Tuesday night at RCFP’s celebration of the First Amendment in New York, freedom of the press is an American value that runs across the political spectrum. While Mr. Gianforte’s campaign seemed to excuse his violent behavior by belittling Mr. Jacobs as a “liberal journalist,” his fellow reporters at Fox News who were on the scene have supported his account by stating that “at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte.”

The journalists are united, and the country should be united, behind the belief that these kinds of attacks on reporters are an assault on the very core of democratic life and require the swiftest condemnation by public officials everywhere.