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SAG-AFTRA

08/01/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/01/2020 22:06

Aug 1 2020 Statement on Journalist Safety in Seattle Read More

SAG-AFTRA members in Seattle are very concerned about their safety after the Seattle Police Department subpoenaed their unaired video in an effort to find criminals among the protestors. Journalists have already been the target of harassment from protestors citing SPD's initial victory in court. We believe the Seattle City Council should condemn the use of a subpoena for this reason and we believe the court should rightfully declare it a violation of the first amendment.

Our Constitution enshrines the principle of free expression and the right of the press to report the news and to criticize our chosen representatives, free of state interference. Under our system of government, journalists play a fundamental role in the maintenance of a democracy, informing and educating the public so that the public may act with intelligence and wisdom in holding their representatives to account. Press freedom is the right on which all of our other rights rest. For years, certain elements of the government have derided journalists and the work they do with a number of epithets, all of which are familiar and none of which are worth repeating. And this summer, as protests have erupted nationwide, the press has come under even more pernicious assault. Whether perpetrated by the public or by the state, acts of violence on journalists bringing news to the communities they serve are a betrayal of our nation's founding principle that a free press is necessary for the maintenance of a free government.