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If the Police Can Decide Who Qualifies as a Journalist, There Is No Free Press
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Truthout


Truthout, June 1, 2023
Posted: June 18th, 2023
https://truthout.org/articles/if-the-police-can-decide-who-q...

In 2021 in the picturesque mountain city of Asheville, North Carolina, The Asheville Blade journalist Veronica Coit sat in a police station waiting to be booked. Both Coit and their colleague Matilda Bliss were processed for trespassing while covering the eviction of unhoused people at Aston Park in Asheville. As of this writing, both journalists are awaiting a jury trial after appealing the guilty verdict handed down by Judge James Calvin Hill on April 19. With that decision, Judge Hill stepped brazenly on the throat of a free press, potentially introducing a precedent that makes journalism illegal – if it's the kind of journalism the ruling class doesn't like. Since 2018, as reported by the Freedom of the Press Foundation's U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, there have been four trials – including this one – against journalists for "offenses allegedly committed while gathering and reporting the news." But this is the first case of its kind to find the defendants guilty. Nearly 50 civil society and media freedom organizations, along with the ACLU of North Carolina, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Reporters Without Borders, National Press Club, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Project Censored, have called on the city of Asheville to drop the charges. But there has been no national outcry over the case in corporate media. "It's a very dangerous precedent to allow the police or anyone in government to define what it means to be a journalist," said Ben Scales, Bliss and Coit's attorney. "We simply don't allow it in this country."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption and media manipulation from reliable sources.


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