SPJ supports West Virginia journalist wrongly arrested for doing his job
Lynn Walsh, SPJ National President, 614-579-7937, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Communications Strategist, 317-361-4134, email@example.com
INDIANAPOLIS -- The following statement may be attributed to SPJ National President Lynn Walsh.
The Society of Professional Journalists urges West Virginia officials to drop charges against Dan Heyman, a West Virginia Public News Service journalist who was arrested Tuesday while questioning Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and White House adviser Kellyanne Conway.
In the United States, the First Amendment protects free speech and a free press. This includes protecting an individual's rights to ask questions of elected officials, which Mr. Heyman was doing. We strongly believe that journalists should not be arrested simply for trying to do their jobs. Journalists are the eyes and ears of the public and when they are prevented from doing their jobs, the public loses.
SPJ is reaching out to Public News Service and working to provide assistance to Heyman. SPJs Legal Defense Fund is available to journalists in situations exactly like these, to aid with legal fees when journalists face these unwarranted types of arrests and charges.
SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund, or give to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.