Press Freedom Groups Join Defending Rights & Dissent in Demanding Charges Be Dropped Against Journalists Arrested When Covering Inauguration Protest
Aaron Cantú and Alexei Wood are journalists who were covering a protest march on Inauguration Day 2017, in Washington, DC. They face a number of charges, including engaging in a riot, conspiracy to riot, inciting a riot, and property damage. Since some of the charges are felonies, they face potentially decades in prison. Cantú and Wood were arrested and charged for simply doing their jobs as reporters. Their prosecution endangers press freedom in the United States
The DOJ is turning political expression into conspiracy and free assembly into a crime. They are using a shocking legal theory: if you attend a march where other individuals engage in vandalism you are collectively liable for their acts and should face decades in prison. Ditto if you’re a journalist who is merely covering the event
Fighting fake news is not the only or best way to ensure that our content ecosystem prioritizes real news. This week, a groundbreaking article in Science proves that a better way to secure a media system that works for democracy is to strengthen independent news outlets.