Leading organizations for members of the press are calling for criminal investigations against individuals who threatened or attacked journalists during protests at the U.S. Capitol.
Many of those reporters were covering the joint session of Congress at the time, where lawmakers were counting electoral votes. Those reporters were forced to hide or flee for their safety, the statement said, when rioters and some protesters stormed into the Capitol building. Violent threats were also written on the door of the Capitol building, they added.
"Journalists are witnesses and rarely in the history of our country has the work of reporters been more important than on January 6, 2021, in documenting the deadly insurrection that nearly toppled our government," National Press Club President Michael Freedman and National Press Club Journalism Institute President Angela Greiling Keane said in a statement.
"They are important chroniclers of democracy. Press freedom is a key tenet of American democracy and democracies worldwide. Journalists' ability to do their jobs and operate unimpeded by threats and violence is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Any attempt to interfere with that right should be investigated and wrongdoers prosecuted.”
Civil unrest and acts of violence at the U.S. Capitol marred otherwise peaceful protests on Jan. 6. A group of rioters and some protesters waving American and Trump flags illegally stormed the Capitol building as lawmakers were counting electoral votes in a joint session of Congress. Clashes in the area on the day left five people dead and dozens of police officers injured.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, told reporters on Monday that the USCP is cracking down on all individuals involved “that potentially facilitated, on a big level or small level in any way,” in the assault on Capitol grounds. The USCP investigations are still ongoing.
Rioters ended up breaching the Capitol building, and other protesters followed inside. Trump has since condemned the “heinous attack” by intruders on the Capitol, saying “the demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy.”
“To those who engaged in acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay,” he said.
Twitter has permanently removed Trump’s account from its platform and justified its censorship by saying that the president had violated its “Glorification of Violence Policy.”
Meanwhile, Facebook, Apple, Google, and Amazon are among the companies that have taken actions to suspend their services for certain users, citing violations of company policies.