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SPJ condemns Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s mistreatment of press


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1/28/2021


CONTACT:
Matthew T. Hall, SPJ National President, 619-987-7786, mhall@spj.org
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-920-4785, zberg@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists condemns the mistreatment of WRCB-TV reporter Meredith Aldis and her colleagues by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and local sheriff’s deputies after Aldis was threatened with arrest for asking Greene a question at a public town hall meeting on Wednesday.

“It’s ridiculous for any politician, especially a member of Congress who should have an understanding of and appreciation for the First Amendment, to invite journalists to a public forum then restrict their access and ability to do their job and finally to have it escalate to the point that officials threaten any journalist with arrest,” SPJ National President Matthew T. Hall said. “There is no excuse for it, and we hope Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene reflects on this and reconsiders how she interacts with the media, which is doing the public’s work.”

WRCB reports that even though the media was invited to attend the event, “Once on property, members of the media were told they would not be permitted to speak to anyone attending or ask any questions.” When Aldis attempted to ask Greene a question, Greene said she was there to talk to her constituents. Then a Whitfield County Sheriff's Deputy escorted the WRCB journalists out of the town hall and threatened to arrest them.

News outlets, like WRBC, cover these events so that those who cannot attend are able to stay informed. Any meeting open to the public should also be open to the press, and threatening a reporter with arrest for simply asking a question is unacceptable. SPJ asks all public officials to keep in mind that the media is working to inform their constituents about what is happening in their communities and with lawmakers.

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 SPJ Foundation.

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