03 Jun 2020 World Association for Christian Communication (North America) calls for an end to police attacks on journalists
June 3, 2020
The North American chapter of the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC-NA), along with The Associated Church Press and Religion Communicators Council, call upon American law enforcement to immediately cease their interference and abuse of journalists as they cover protests against police brutality and the extrajudicial killings of Black Americans.
American democracy is built on the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech and an unhindered free press. Recently televised and photographed arrests of journalists who have been shot at, tear–gassed, clubbed, shoved, and otherwise abused, represent an intentional targeting of the press and have prevented the practice of their constitutional rights.
We recognize the complex and ever-evolving nature of demonstrations, however, law enforcement violently impeding journalists’ ability to cover the protests limits free speech and narrows the scope of the coverage.
As an organization devoted to upholding communications rights around the world, our calls for justice have often addressed circumstances in developing nations and those with authoritarian leaders. It is regrettable but necessary that we now make this appeal to police officers and leaders in the United States of America.
Preventing the exercise of an independent press in any way is an affront to democracy and the values of a free society. This sentiment is exacerbated by repeated claims of “fake news” and naming the press as “enemies of the state” by the United States president. We call on him, and all elected leaders in America, to strongly affirm the constitutional rights of a free press and take swift action to ensure the safety of journalists.
Dr. Glory Dharmaraj (President, WACC-NA)
Rev. Gregg Brekke (WACC Global representative for WACC-NA)
Stephen Chavez (President, Associated Church Press)
Jacqueline F. Fuller (President, Religion Communicators Council)
Photo above: People take to the streets in Cincinnati, Ohio, to protest the death of African-American George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police. by Julian Wan/Unsplash