Parker Higgins is the former Director of Advocacy at Freedom of the Press Foundation.
Police have used the aftermath of mass shootings to restrict press access and threaten arrest of journalists on the ground, according to recent reporting by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. In each of those cities, as tragedy unfolded and reporters began working, they have faced unnecessary hurdles erected by law enforcement and public officials.
We’ve repeatedly argued that legislation is necessary to resolve questions about when the Department of Justice media guidelines apply and to provide accountability in case of violations. So, what kind of accountability is there now?
With a reporter surveillance scandal of its own embroiling Biden’s Department of Justice, it’s now more important than ever for his administration to throw its weight behind passing a journalist shield law such as Senator Ron Wyden’s PRESS Act.