The Capitol attack on Jan. 6 resulted in at least nine physical assaults against journalists and at least five arrests, per the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker’s top editor.

Why it matters: President Trump’s harsh rhetoric towards the press has empowered leaders abroad and locally in the U.S. to continue to attack press that they don’t like.

  • As Trump departs, he leaves a legacy of targeted vitriol towards the press that will live on via his supporters for many years to come.

Ahead of inauguration, several journalists tell CNN they plan to wear bullet-proof vests. Many newsrooms have instructed reporters not to wear any paraphernalia, including press badges, that could identify them as journalists.

  • A coalition of news organizations sent a letter to federal law enforcement agencies last week calling for greater transparency and more information about political violence threats at the inauguration.

The big picture: A record 110 journalists were arrested or criminally charged in the U.S. in 2020, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, compared to 9 in 2019.

  • Roughly 300 journalists were assaulted, mostly by law enforcement officials.
  • A large portion of those assaults occurred over the summer during Black Lives matters protests and in November during election-related protests.
  • Several factors, including an increasingly hostile attitude towards the press, have helped to eradicate norms that once afforded journalists police protection, per CPJ.

The bottom line: 2020 set a new record for the number of imprisoned journalists globally. More journalists are being murdered in countries that aren’t at war.

  • Of the 50 journalists killed last year, 84% were knowingly targeted and deliberately murdered for doing their jobs.
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Posted by Contributor