AAJA Joins Minnesota Chapter and SPJ-Minnesota in Denouncing Targeting and Detention of Journalists Doing Their Jobs

AAJA joins AAJA-Minnesota and the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in denouncing the violent targeting and detention of journalists by local law enforcement during ongoing protests. We also condemn the racist treatment of CNN producer Carolyn Sung, which was described in a letter to Governor Tim Walz from more than two dozen media outlets and advocacy organizations. According to the letter, during the course of her wrongful arrest and detention, and as she repeatedly identified herself as a member of the press, the trooper who was detaining her yelled, “Do you speak English?”

AAJA stands in solidarity with our fellow journalists, and strongly condemns threats and attacks that interfere with journalists’ right to do their jobs. We urge city, state, and federal leadership to fully investigate the violence against and the wrongful arrests and detainment of journalists.
We also continue to stand in solidarity [1] [2] with our fellow diversity associations and press freedom groups in calling for journalists’ safety as they cover protests. Many journalists of color have already been working through significant risk and violence over the past year, and AAPI journalists specifically have been affected by increased anti-Asian racism over the past year.
We remind law enforcement that the press and peaceful protestors are not the enemy. The press serves a fundamental role in a democracy by informing the public and holding institutions accountable.
Any threat to the press is a threat to a free society, free speech, and the First Amendment.

The Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists (MNSPJ) and the Minnesota chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) decry in the strongest possible terms the violent targeting and detention of journalists by law enforcement authorities during ongoing protests in Brooklyn Center.
On behalf of news organizations, attorney Leita Walker submitted a letter this evening to Gov. Tim Walz and public safety officials that details mistreatment of journalists over several nights. We support her call for law enforcement to “act reasonably and in a manner consistent with the U.S. Constitution and judicial orders.”  And we encourage anyone concerned about journalism in Minnesota to read Walker’s letter.
A free press is vital to democracy, and ordering the press to leave the area, detaining reporters on their stomachs and photographing their faces, credentials and I.D.s is tantamount to intimidation. A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the use of so-called “less-lethal” weapons on journalists, some of whom have already suffered serious injury requiring surgery. We call upon Walz, State Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington and leaders of the Minnesota National Guard, Minnesota State Patrol, Brooklyn Center Police and other authorities to read and respect both the letter and spirit of the federal order.

Let us do our jobs.

(Link to AAJA-MN and MNSPJ statement here)

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