Legislation that would protect journalists who are covering protests and demonstrations from being assaulted, arrested, or obstructed from gathering news during these events is scheduled to be heard this Wednesday, August 5 in the Assembly Public Safety Committee at 2:00. SB 629 by Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) would:
- Allow a duly authorized member of the media to enter areas closed off to the public by first responders during a demonstration, march, protest or rally.
- Create an accelerated process for a journalist to challenge being detained by an officer; and
- Create a rebuttable presumption that an individual who appears to be gathering or processing information or is carrying a press badge/credential is a duly authorized journalist as defined.
CNPA, California Black Media, La Opinion, the ACLU and the First Amendment Coalition submitted a letter in support of the measure. The California Broadcasters Association also submitted a letter of support. Law enforcement organizations are opposed to the measure.