Why are journalists becoming victims of brutality?

June 4, 2020

In regards to all the things that have been happening the past week or so, there has been a ton of violence captured in videos, photos, and articles for the world to see. However, for people to even see half of what is going on there needs to be journalists and photographers at the scene to get the true stories out to the public, so why are so many of them being harassed for just doing their job? 

Considering that more than half of our news resources are filled with fake news reports, writers already have a hard time trying to get their audience to trust the documentation and resources used in their work. The effects of harassment against journalists have been interfering and making it even harder to get solid reports out to the public. Unexpectedly, there hasn’t been this much of an increase in harassment towards journalists since the 1960’s during the Civil Rights Movement, which is ironically similar to what is transpiring today. 

After seeing what some of these journalists have gone through to get evidence for a simple report, I became furious with the law enforcement that has decided to think that it was okay to remove people from the protest and riots they have a right to be at and report by. Although rioting and looting isn’t always the first solution to change things, I don’t think that these journalists at the protest should be getting shot at or sprayed with mace. 

I would like to point out that rioting has been one of the most powerful ways to push a movement forward in history. It is one of the reasons why women have their rights, why gay people have their rights, and why black people have their rights. I can understand why things have gotten to this point of protest, which I would also like to point out that rioting is in fact a form of protesting.

Being a journalist myself, we want to experience or have a sense of what it is we are writing about to give the true feel of a story, but when we are being shot at with rubber bullets or sprayed with tear gas and mace, it leaves people blinded or terribly injured which only takes away the ability to have the physical experience in it’s true form. 

You could say that some of these attacks were accidents, but the majority of the press make it obvious who they are and why they are there, which makes it seem like they are being attacked intentionally. 

Reporters like Tom Aviles, a photographer from CBS Minnesota, yelled out, “I’M NOT FIGHTING” while he was shot with a rubber bullet at a protest he was covering in Minneapolis, and was also arrested by law enforcement. And for what? All because he was at the wrong place, at the right time. 

There is a lot of attention being brought to journalists that even now the smallest writers are given awareness for how they have been treated. Some people on Twitter have been giving their piece of mind on how they feel about the deliberate targeting of journalists. 

A tweet made by Jim Nelson read “Message from Cleveland police tonight: ‘No media is allowed downtown unless they are inside their place of business. Period.’ @CLEpolice”. Wesley Lowery, a journalist for The Washington Post, replied to the tweet saying, “…This is the action where the police are crossing the line in terms of press freedom that they hadn’t routinely cross before at 2014-2019 protest…”. 

It isn’t new that police officers have arrested and attacked journalists at protests in the past, and they were usually non- famous journalists from ‘non-corporate’ outlets so there was never a lot of attention brought to it. But now that they are attacking corporate journalists, you can see that they are deliberately attacking journalists. And these attacks just keep piling up. 

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