SPJ condemns arrest of NewsNation reporter
Claire Regan, SPJ National President, firstname.lastname@example.org
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Specialist, 317-920-4785, email@example.com
INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists condemns the arrest of NewsNation Reporter Evan Lambert by East Palestine, Ohio, police officers. Lambert was arrested Wednesday evening while filing a live report alongside other reporters doing the same during a press conference.
“It is imperative reporters remain free to keep the public informed without interference from law enforcement,” said SPJ National President Claire Regan and SPJ Vice-President Ashanti Blaize Hopkins. “Journalism is not a crime and we urge East Palestine PD to drop all charges against Mr. Lambert immediately and issue a public apology for his arrest.”
Lambert was arrested for trespassing at a news conference where Gov. Mike DeWine was speaking about the derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals in Ohio. NewsNation said Lambert was asked by police to stop his live report before he was arrested. He was held for about five hours before being released from jail.
DeWine said he did not request that Lambert stop his live broadcast or know the request was being made by police. SPJ is glad to hear that DeWine supports journalists’ rights to report. He told reporters they had a right to report during the press conference and "if they were in any way hampered from reporting, that certainly is wrong and it's not anything that I approve — in fact I vehemently disapprove of it."
After his release, Lambert said he had paperwork saying “there are still charges pending against me.” SPJ urges any ongoing charges be dropped immediately.
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.