-30 journalists have faced physical attacks in 2019
-5 journalists were killed in 2018
-46 journalists faced physical attacks in 2017
Since 2017, 55 reporters have been attacked while covering protests. Demonstrators damage TV journalist’s camera in Charlottesville Gary Cooper, a journalist with North Carolina TV station WTVD, was filming a crowd of demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2018, when some of the demonstrators cut his camera’s audio cable. Cooper and journalist DeJuan Hoggard were in Charlottesville to cover anti-fascist demonstrations marking the one-year anniversary of the murder of Heather Heyer, who was killed by a white nationalist at the “Unite the Right” rally in 2017. A group of demonstrators, apparently unhappy with being filmed, got into an altercation with Cooper and Hoggard, during which the demonstrators cut the audio cable connecting Cooper’s external microphone to his camera. Hoggard later tweeted a photo of Cooper holding the broken camera, and Cooper tweeted that he had a spare cable. Hoggard also tweeted a video of an altercation that he had with demonstrators before the cable was cut. Eder Campuzano, a reporter at The Oregonian, was hit in the head by a plastic water bottle while covering protests in Portland, Oregon, on August 4, 2018. “Moments after I began live-streaming the police response to yet another face-off between right-wing and anti-fascist demonstrators, blood was dripping from my head onto one of my favorite shirts and I was being escorted to The Oregonian newsroom,” Campuzano wrote in a first-person piece about the incident. Tyler Dumont, a journalist at Fox 12 Oregon, captured a photo of Campuzano’s bleeding head and posted it on Twitter, where it spread quickly. Protesters smack away NBC News reporter Cal Perry’s camera in Charlottesville On August 11, 2018, NBC News reporter Cal Perry was covering an anti-racist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, when protesters grabbed his TV camera and pushed it away. Anti-fascist protesters gathered in Charlottesville to commemorate Heather Heyer, who was murdered during the far-right “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville the previous year. While covering the demonstration, Perry tweeted that a number of protesters seemed hostile toward him and other reporters. He later tweeted a video of an altercation with a protester. “Fuck you, snitch ass news bitch,” a man can be heard saying in the video footage. “Fuck you!” The man then smacks the camera sideways. Portland Mercury reporter Kelly Kenoyer shoved while filming Patriot Prayer rally
July 11, 2018
Portland Mercury reporter Kelly Kenoyer was shoved while covering a far right rally in Portland, Oregon, on June 3, 2018. “It was a scary experience—the first violent protest I’ve covered, and I had a bit of that violence directed at me,” she wrote in a piece for Portland Mercury. Kenoyer told Freedom of the Press Foundation that she began covering the Patriot Prayer rally around 4 p.m., at which point there were around 20 people aligned with the far-right Patriot Prayer group and over 100 anti-fascist protesters present. While filming a verbal confrontation between a Patriot Prayer demonstrator and a counter-protester, she said, a Patriot Prayer protester tried to grab her phone and shoved her backwards. Kenoyer was able to film part of the altercation and later posted the video on Twitter. “As [I filmed], the man (a masked up guy on the Patriot Prayer side), flipped me off, directing that hand towards the phone,” Kenoyer said. “Then he pushed his hand into my phone, shoving it into the side of my head/face, and pushed me over.” After being pushed, Kenoyer identified herself as a reporter, and a bystander approached to try to defuse the situation. Kenoyer said that the man who shoved her and another Patriot Prayer demonstrator then then began yelling at the bystander. “Things escalated from there and I ended up getting shoved backwards — I think they shoved the bystander into me,” she said. “I stumbled backwards and a random counter-protester caught me. He apologized for touching me and said he wanted to make sure I didn’t fall.” Kenoyer said she felt frazzled after the altercation and took a moment to gather herself back together before getting back to work. She said that she does not think that anyone was specifically targeting reporters for harassment, but protesters on both sides objected to being filmed. “Neither side particularly wanted to be filmed,” she said. “Antifa activists also told me not to film, though they didn’t physically assault me over it.” Kenoyer also noted that a different Patriot Prayer member filmed her and said, “You like that, bitch?!” She clarified later that day to the woman that she was a reporter. Last year, Kenoyer was also singled out and threatened by right wingers on social media after writing for Eugene Weekly about the impacts of doxxing by the right on anti-fascist activists.
Independent journalist Jon Ziegler, who livestreams under the handle RebZ.tv, was reporting on a white nationalist rally in Shelbyville, Tennessee, on October 28, 2017, when one of the white nationalist protesters struck him with a shield. Ziegler told the Freedom of the Press Foundation that the demonstration was divided into two sections — a white nationalist section and an anti-fascist section — which were each penned in by police barricades. Ziegler said that he interviewed protesters in both sections and was walking through the white nationalist area when he was suddenly confronted by a prominent leader in the National Socialist Movement, a white nationalist group. The NSM leader told Ziegler that he was standing too close to the NSM’s P.A. system and demanded that he leave. Ziegler said that a group of NSM members then surrounded him, threatened him and began pushing him around. He said that the NSM members were armed with shields — police had allowed them to carry shields because they were not considered offensive weapons — and one NSM member struck him with his shield. September 12, 2017
An unidentified protester ordered freelance production assistant Nathan Hope to stop filming and knocked a phone out of his hands during protests in Berkeley, California, on August 27, 2017. Hope, who was assisting a production crew that day for a documentary about the alt right, said that it was one of a series of threats and intimidation that the crew experienced that day at the hands of people whom he described as anti-fascist or black bloc protesters. The black bloc protesters arrived at a largely peaceful protest in Berkeley’s Civic Center Park. The protest was part of a “Rally Against Hate” in response to a much smaller group of right-wing protesters, according to press reports. Hope told Alex Ellerbeck, a reporter with the Committee to Protect Journalists, that he was filming a group of protesters assaulting an unidentified man at the time that the incident occurred. Hope said that one protester, wearing a bandana to disguise their identity, ordered him to stop filming and then knocked his phone out of his hands. Hope said that the phone was not damaged after being knocked to the ground, but the video was interrupted. He stopped filming shortly afterwards. Two other journalists working on the documentary project said that they also received threats while filming on that day. Leighton Woodhouse, an independent documentary filmmaker, said that anti-fascist protesters approached him and told to stop filming. “The only reason we didn’t get administered a beat down is because when we were ordered (not asked) to point our cameras elsewhere, we only pushed our right to film them so far,” Woodhouse wrote in a blog post on his website L@W. “Nobody threatened us directly, but there was an implicit threat of violence because as it happened, people were being beaten up,” Woodhouse told Ellerbeck. He said that fear of violence affected how he reported on the protest and that there were times when they stopped filming or filmed from farther away. He said that there were three or four confrontations in which he was ordered to stop filming and that protesters would block the cameras with shields and would sometimes escort reporters away from the scene. Armando Aparicio, Woodhouse’s partner on the documentary project, told Ellerbeck that one protester put a shield in his face and followed him everyone that he went. He said that protesters were screaming that they did not want to be in his video. Aparicio said that he put a cap on his lens and stepped back after being threatened. Both Woodhouse and Aparicio said that the protesters seemed to have a conflicted relationship with the media. The protest took place in a public sphere and banners and signs seemed designed to be captured by the press, but at the same time protesters seemed to be afraid of having their identities captured on camera. “There is a fear of doxing [having identities publicly revealed] both by the alt right and law enforcement,” said Aparicio. “We were in a public park,” Woodhouse wrote on his blog. “It was a big news event, where everybody knew there would be media. Activists in the Black Bloc were concealed by sunglasses and ski masks to protect their identity for exactly this reason. They carried flags and banners, to make themselves a spectacle. Yet for their personal security, many of them decided that it was their right to command photographers not to take their pictures, to physically block them from doing so, and if they persisted, to smash their equipment and assault them.” September 15, 2017
Leigh Martinez, a freelance reporter for KTVU, was covering an anti-fascist protest in Berkeley, California, on August 27, 2017, when a protester knocked her phone out of her hand. In a video of the altercation shared by KTVU on its Facebook and Twitter accounts, one protester is shown attempting to block Martinez’s ability to film the march with a poster. A second protester approaches Martinez, saying, “Hey, can you not film this right now?” The protester then knocks Martinez’s phone out of her hand. The protester was later arrested on suspicion of battery. Martinez could not be reached for comment, but KTVU wrote on Facebook that Martinez says “the incident happened after an altercation with her photographer.” In a response to KTVU photojournalist Randee Deason on Twitter, Martinez tweeted, “Yes, I’m okay. She hit my wrist. I was able to continue working.” October 12, 2017
Thom Jensen, a freelance reporter for NBC affiliate KNTV, had his phone taken by protesters while covering an anti-fascist demonstration in Berkeley, California, on August 27, 2017. Lizzie Johnson, a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, tweeted a video that shows protesters chasing Jensen and yelling, “Take his camera, take his phone!” https://twitter.com/i/status/901918372438220800 My phone was taken & submerged in one of the water-filled barricades. Thankfully it had a waterproof case & find my iPhone works under water. Protesters attack independent live streamer in San Francisco, steal his phone
September 8, 2017
Nathan Stolpman — an independent journalist who runs the YouTube channel Lift the Veil Too — was attacked and had his phone stolen while filming an anti-fascist protest in San Francisco, California, on August 26, 2017. In an interview with the Freedom of the Press Foundation, Stolpman said that he was livestreaming the protest to his YouTube channel when several protesters attempted to block his camera with an umbrella. Stolpman continued his livestream, telling the protesters, “I’m just a journalist, I have a YouTube channel.” The livestream posted on the Lift the Veil Too YouTube channel shows one person present at the protest asking Stolpman why he was wearing a polo shirt, stating that “polos are on the other side”. Stolpman asked protesters why they did not want coverage of the event, and a larger group of protesters began to chant “Nazi, go home.” As Stolpman continued to livestream, the group of protesters — holding a large black banner with “Fascist Scum You Are Done” written on it — followed him and wrapped him in the banner, restricting his ability to move. Ruptly, a livestreaming service owned by Russian broadcaster RT, captured footage of Stolpman’s encounter with the protesters. The video published by Ruptly shows a masked protester quickly approach Stolpman, who is largely covered by the black banner, and then grab Stolpman’s phone and run off. After the altercation, Stolpman was interviewed about what happened by several outlets. As he answered a question, one protester wearing a red nose stroked his hair, while other protesters off camera yelled and denounced the media outlets interviewing him for “giving the fascist a camera.” A video filmed by Brian Neumann, a student journalist at San Francisco State University, shows Stolpman arguing with protesters and asking for his phone back. Stolpman told the Freedom of the Press Foundation that he believes he was targeted because he was live streaming and because of his clothing. He said that his phone was never returned to him.