Menendez joins bicameral effort to reintroduce bill to make harming a journalist a federal crime

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U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has joined a bicameral effort that also includes Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) and U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif, 15) to reintroduce a bill to make threatening or harming a journalist a federal crime.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“The increasing threats and acts of violence against journalists are deeply alarming, and they need greater protection in order to do their jobs safely. Our democracy and the American people rely on a free and independent press – a strong Fourth Estate – to keep the public informed and hold those in power accountable,” Menendez said in a statement.

“Journalists perform a noble public service that the Framers understood was essential to a well-functioning democracy. We need to do more to ensure they can do their jobs effectively without fear of being hurt.”

The Journalist Protection Act would make intentionally harming a working journalist or intentionally harming a journalist with the intent of intimidating them from doing their job a federal crime.

“As threats and violence against the media have multiplied more menacingly in recent years, the press needs and deserves greater protection,” added Blumenthal.

“The right and responsibility of journalists to hold accountable people in positions of power is absolutely fundamental to our democracy.”

Today’s bill reintroduction comes as attacks on journalists have seen a significant uptick.

According to the Press Freedom Tracker, there were 427 physical attacks on journalists in 2020, higher than the prior three years combined.  

Democracy depends on the ability of journalists to ask tough questions and report the truth without fear of violence or persecution,” noted Swalwell.

“My bill will ensure that journalists are able to do their jobs without fear of harm.”

Organizations supporting the bill include: Communications Works of America, News Media for Open Government, News Media Alliance, Radio Television Digital News Association, National Press Photographers Association, MPA – The Association of Magazine Media, National Newspaper Association, News Leaders Association, Society of Professional Journalists, Professional Photographers of America, American Society of Media Photographers, National Association of Broadcasters, Reporters’ Committee for Freedom of the Press, North American Nature Photography Association, American Photographic Artists. 

The Journalist Protection Act was first introduced by the same trio of federal lawmakers back in 2019.

2 COMMENTS

  1. So Senator Menendez is now an expert on criminal justice? Who knew there was a benefit to being a hung jury away from a federal conviction? Or having a convicted friend get pardoned (in the days after January 6th) by President Trump?

    Some people complain that too many of our youth (minorities especially) are incarcerated. Did you know a major reason is overcriminalization of so many things as crimes. Serious crimes, violent crimes, fraud (i.e., real crimes) are one thing, but did you know people go to jail (many more are investigated) for “procedural” crimes?

    What is Bob Menendez doing to fight for justice in the infrastructure bill, which seems designed to reward connected cronies at the expense of ruinous taxes and regulations on certain industries. When wages don’t rise and jobs move to foreign countries, when our youth see that America will never be THEIR land of opportunity, that they’ll never be able to afford college, health insurance or housing, then ask where was Bob Menendez? Or Albio Sires?

  2. They only mean their political operatives working in their censored corporate media and follow the party line suppressing the origins of the CCP virus in Wuhan, election fraud and abusing Americans’ civil liberties.

    Where is Interpol and why is there no warrant issued for raping Dominican girls?

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