Jun 2, 2020 - Economy & Business

Tear gas and rubber bullets: Attacks on journalists investigated

A journalist bleeding after police started firing tear gas and rubber bullets in Minneapolis, Minnesota
A journalist bleeding after police started firing tear gas and rubber bullets in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker says it's currently investigating over 100 violations of press freedoms in the past three days, which is astonishing given the fact that it normally documents 100-150 press freedom violations in the U.S. per year.

Driving the news: Dozens of journalists across the country tweeted videos Saturday night of themselves and their crews getting arrested, being shot at by police with rubber bullets, targeted with tear gas by authorities or assaulted by protesters.

By the numbers: (Based off a list compiled by Nick Waters.)

  • Shot at: (mostly non-lethal rounds/rubber bullets): 45
  • Tear gas: 12
  • Pepper Sprayed: 13
  • Attacked/hit: 21
  • Arrested: 15
  • Detained: 5
  • Threatened: 11

Be smart: Many of these incidents, because they target the press, were captured live on camera. The footage could help to verify unnecessary police action against journalists.

Why it matters: The incidents show how easy it can be for journalists to become entangled in the stories they cover, especially during a time of civil unrest.

  • They also show how a hostile environment for the press, made worse by the president's incessant bemoaning of the mainstream media, can make it difficult to cover important moments, like protests.

What's next: The Committee to Protect Journalists says it's investigating over 100 reports of violence against journalists from past several days.

  • On Monday, 18 journalism organizations, including The National Press Club, wrote an open letter calling on police nationwide to halt use of violence and arrests against journalists covering protests.

Go deeper: Journalists get caught in the crosshairs as protests unfold

Go deeper