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RTDNA Report Finds 2020 was a Dangerous Year for Journalists; Calls on Congress to Journalist Protection Act, Right to Record Police Act

During the past year, the job of seeking and reporting the truth became increasingly dangerous, according to a study released Wednesday by the Radio Television Digital News Association. Journalists were threatened, assaulted and arrested at an alarming rate while on the job and faced unprecedented levels of verbal and physical violence at the hands of civilians, police and the leaders we are meant to hold accountable.

Each year, RTDNA releases data from a survey of broadcast newsrooms from across the country. This year, for the first time, the report compiled by the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University included a section on media safety.

The survey found:

  • 1 in 5 television news directors reported attacks on employees.
  • 86% of news directors changed newsroom procedures to protect employees. They purchased bullet-proof vests and gas masks and more often sent security teams with reporters.

According to RTDNA, this data makes clear a reality that many journalists are under attack and it’s calling on Congress to act to protect the news media’s constitutionally duty to serve the public.

RTDNA has launched a campaign to move Congress to action on the Journalist Protection Act and Right to Record Police Act, creating a petition to urge the U.S. House of Representative and U.S. Senate to prioritize the passage of these two pieces of legislation.

Download the full RTDNA/Newhouse School 2021 Safety Report here.

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