The free press must be protected
Newspaper columnist Rod Dreher wrote “There are three kinds of people who run toward disaster not away: cops, firemen and reporters.
Watching the coverage of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the importance of journalism could not be more evident. The photography, videography and written accounts of journalists continue to shine a light on matters of public concern. Reporters in Michigan have run toward the chaos in Lansing, Grand Rapids and Detroit. They have done an outstanding job of informing citizens what is happening during the protests in those cities.
Unfortunately, several incidents in Detroit over the weekend have caused concern in our profession. Journalists covering the protest and civil unrest over the last few days have faced tear gas, rubber bullets, and, in the case of one reporter, arrest.
The Michigan Press Association feels it is incumbent upon the leadership in the City of Detroit to send a message to those officers who are disregarding press credentials and shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at members of the media that they are acting in a way that is not condoned by the administration.
“Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of the press.”
That is an important tenet of the First Amendment. We would ask that those in charge of the City of Detroit support that amendment to our nation’s Constitution. Please understand that journalists are there as neutral observers to report on the actions of all.
We understand that law enforcement around the country is under extreme pressure. We appreciate their efforts to maintain calm during this storm. We do, however, insist that they allow members of the media to do their jobs without fear of injury or arrest.
(THE MICHIGAN PRESS ASSOCIATION)