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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There have been over 546 total press freedom incidents in the U.S. in the past few months, with roughly 137 — over 25% — coming from law enforcement, according to new data from the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

The state of play: Of the 125 physical attacks on the press during the recent protests, 77 have come from law enforcement.

  • New police rules also threaten journalists' access and independence.

Driving the news: The escalating protests in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere around the country are causing a surge in incidents, which were going down after the initial protests had begun in late May.

  • In Portland, there have been 52 reports of journalists being abused, according to the Press Freedom Tracker, cited by Columbia Journalism Review.
  • In Seattle, journalists are angry that a Seattle judge ruled that five outlets, including the Seattle Times, must hand over unreleased photos and videos of a protest in May to help law enforcement solve an investigation.
  • In New York, the police department has put forth new rules for review that give officers the ability to further restrict journalists from covering police activity.

Be smart: Experts fear that police are using the excuse of protecting federal property to suppress protest coverage.

  • "I do think that the federal forces in Portland appear to be using the presence of federal property as an excuse to operate, not a reason — and that those operations are threatening to chill press reporting and broader free expression," says Joshua Geltzer, executive director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown Law Center.

Go deeper

Oct 14, 2020 - Technology

COVID is worsening global internet freedom, report finds

Singapore's TraceTogether contact-tracing app. Photo: Catherine Lai/AFP via Getty Images

Governments around the world have seized on the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to expand digital surveillance and harvest more data on their citizens, according to a report out Wednesday from Freedom House, a democracy and human rights research group.

Why it matters: Privacy advocates have warned since early in the pandemic that the tech behind efforts to conduct contact tracing and enforce quarantines and other public safety protocols could be abused and made permanent, particularly in authoritarian countries like China.

55 mins ago - Technology

Big Tech bolts politics

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Big Tech fed politics. Then it bled politics. Now it wants to be dead to politics. 

Why it matters: The social platforms that profited massively on politics and free speech suddenly want a way out — or at least a way to hide until the heat cools. 

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

GameStop as a metaphor

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A half-forgotten and unprofitable videogame retailer is, bizarrely and incredibly, on the lips of the nation. That's because the GameStop story touches on economic and cultural forces that affect everyone, whether they own a single share of stock or not.

Why it matters: In most Wall Street fights, the broader public doesn't have a rooting interest. This one — where a group of small traders won a multi-billion-dollar bet against giant hedge funds by buying stock in GameStop — is different.