Two years ago, we wrote about the ridiculousness of police arresting reporters
for reporting in Ferguson, Missouri, even though courts had told police
to knock it off. Even more ridiculous is that those reporters were eventually charged
, leading to a ridiculous settlement
earlier this year.
And yet... arresting journalists for doing journalism continues to be a thing. As you probably know, there have been a bunch of protests in North Dakota
lately concerning the Dakota Access Pipeline. Back in September, after covering the protests and having some of her videos of an attack on the protestors
go viral, famed Democracy Now reporter Amy Goodman found out an arrest warrant had been issued for her
. It's pretty clear that this arrest warrant was solely
because of the coverage reflecting poorly on officials.
On Thursday, Goodman said that she'll surrender to authorities
next week. As Democracy Now points out, the criminal complaint against her is so transparently unconstitutional and so transparently about intimidating reporters, that it actually notes that "Amy Goodman can be seen on the video identifying herself and interviewing protesters about their involvement in the protest." Right. That's called journalism. Goodman was basically arrested for doing journalism that the powers-that-be dislike.
Organizations that fight for free speech for journalists are condemning all of this. The Committee to Protect Journalists notes that this is "a transparent attempt to intimidate reporters from covering protests of significant public interest" while the Freedom of the Press Foundation is demanding that North Dakota drop the charges
And they may want to seriously consider dropping the charges and walking away. After all, Goodman was also arrested for covering protests back in 2008, and that eventually ended with the police and local governments having to pay her $100,000
for violating her civil rights.