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SPJ outraged by discovery of secret database, excessive screening and questioning of journalists at the border

3/7/2019 2:38:50 PM

J. Alex Tarquinio, SPJ National President, 212-283-0843,
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Director of Communications and Marketing, 317-361-4134,

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists is outraged at evidence that the United States government created a secret database that includes information about journalists covering the migrant caravan that led to excessive detention of journalists at the southern border and even denial of entry.

“This is a disturbing pattern of activity that prevented journalists from doing their jobs of informing the public about what is happening at our border,” said SPJ National President J. Alex Tarquinio. “Alerts were placed on journalists’ passports; their own privacy and that of their families was violated as journalists who covered the caravan were targeted for secondary screenings and unauthorized questioning. It is unacceptable that journalists are being treated this way.”

SPJ condemns this latest attempt by the government to stifle or discourage the voice of a free press. We join others in demanding that members of Congress who oversee the Department of Homeland Security thoroughly, and immediately, investigate these activities.

Arresting and detaining journalists is a disservice to journalism and democracy. SPJ stands with those journalists, many of whom are freelancers, covering the activities at the border. We support and applaud their persistence and bravery.

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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