SPJ, NPPA speak out on journalists being attacked, injured in Baltimore
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2015
Dana Neuts, SPJ National President, 360-920-1737 (PDT), firstname.lastname@example.org
Mickey H. Osterreicher, NPPA General Counsel, 716-983-7800, email@example.com
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Communications Strategist, 317-361-4134, firstname.lastname@example.org
INDIANAPOLIS -- At least nine journalists have been attacked or injured while on assignment in Baltimore, Md., during the riots following the funeral of Freddie Gray on Monday.
The Society of Professional Journalists, joined by the National Press Photographers Association, believes that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing fair and comprehensive accounts of events and issues. No journalist deserves to be punched, tackled or have objects thrown at them as they try to cover the events that are important to a community, city, state or nation.
When law enforcement, military, government agencies – or the general public – attempt to stifle journalists through force, intimidation or other unwarranted ethical practices, democracy is compromised. Part of both organizations’ missions is to educate and support journalists in their efforts to do their jobs ethically and credibly, and to help others understand the rights of journalists as outlined in the U.S. Constitution.
As Andrew Seaman, SPJ Ethics Committee chair, noted in a blog post this morning, journalists must work to ensure their own safety while striving to report these situations in a careful manner. They must hold on to their principles – even in unpredictable situations – to act with integrity and “ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough,” according to SPJ’s Code of Ethics.
The Columbia Journalism School’s Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma is an invaluable tool for journalists covering traumatic and possibly dangerous events. The NPPA also offers some practical advice for covering high conflict news stories.
When all groups work together in a peaceful, patient, respectable way, much can be accomplished for the greater public good.
Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit spj.org.
The NPPA is the voice of visual journalists dedicated to the advancement of visual journalism in its creation, editing and distribution. Since its founding in 1946, the NPPA has vigorously promoted and defended freedom of the press in all its forms, especially as it relates to visual journalism. For more information about NPPA, please visit nppa.org