Citing President Donald Trump’s continued criticism of the press, Democrats have reintroduced the Journalist Protection Act, The Washington Times is reporting.
The bill would make it a federal crime to intentionally assault a journalist “in the course of reporting or in a manner designed to intimidate him or her from newsgathering.” The proposed legislation was offered by Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. And Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., the newspaper said.
“We must protect journalists in every corner of our country if they are attacked physically while doing their job, and send a strong, clear message that such violence will not be tolerated,” Swalwell said. “That is what my bill, the Journalist Protection Act, would do.”
And in a tweet, Swalwell added: “From tweeting #FakeNews to proclaiming his contempt for the media during campaign rallies, the President has created a hostile environment for members of the press. We must protect journalists from violence by sending a strong, clear message that attacks will not be tolerated.”
The Society of Professional Journalists welcomed the bill.
It tweeted: “SPJ applauds @SenBlumenthal, @Senator Menendez and @ericswalwell for reintroducing the Journalist Protection Act, which would make it a federal crime to knowingly assault a reporter engaged in the act of newsgathering.”
Swalwell and Blumenthal had first introduced the act in 2018, but the effort died in the Republican-controlled Congress, The Washington Times noted.
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