First Amendment rights are too precious to lose. Without them, all others are at risk.
On January 20, six independent journalists were arrested in Washington for doing their jobs—covering protests during Trump’s inauguration.
They committed no crimes, yet face possible prosecution and imprisonment. The affected journalists include documentary producer Jack Keller, independent photojournalist Shay Horse, independent journalist Matt Hopard, free lance reporter Aaron Cantu, Vocativ journalist Evan Enger, and RT America’s Alexander Rubinstein.
RT International reported the story, explaining Rubenstein was wrongfully charged with inciting a riot. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years imprisonment and can be fined as much as $25,000. RT’s press office blasted what happened, issuing a statement, saying:
“The arrest and subsequent felony rioting charge against our reporter, Alexander Rubinstein, simply for doing his job—covering inauguration protests in Washington DC—is an absolute outrage.”
“Such acts represent an egregious violation of journalistic freedom, and are particularly disheartening to witness in the country that positions itself as the global champion of free press.”
“RT will apply the full weight of its legal team in support of our journalist and we are confident that a thorough review by the US Attorney’s office will confirm that Alexander, who wore his press credentials at all times, was wrongfully arrested.”
Brutalizing protesters is commonplace in US cities, notably against global justice, anti-war, and Occupy Wall Street activists in recent years—flagrantly violating constitutional and international law.
On inauguration day, police made over 200 arrests. A DC National Lawyers’ Guild statement on its web site said police “indiscriminately targeted people for arrest en masse based on location alone.”
“These illegal acts are clearly designed to chill the speech of protesters engaging in First Amendment activity.” They reflect how police states operate.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book as editor and contributor is “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Visit his blog at sjlendman.blogspot.com . Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.