CNN staff threatened after Trump tweets violent video against the press

Expression

Following Trump’s 2nd July tweet of a video depicting violence against media outlet CNN, multiple journalists and their families have received threatening messages.

Andrew Kaczynski, a CNN staffer who reported on the video, says he and members of his family received hundreds of harassing phone calls. Freelancer Jared Yates Sexton, who has spoken out on twitter about video, said he has received numerous death threats and intimidating messages on social media.

According to Jeff Zucker, CNN World President,

“The rhetoric and threats that [CNN staffers] are subjected to on a daily basis is much more serious than I think anybody would realize […] this is what happens when you try to delegitimize an institution that is doing its job”.

Margaux Ewen, Advocacy and Communications Director for Reporters without Borders North America Bureau, also spoke out against the tweet, stating:

"The message from the White House must be one that condemns, instead of condones, violence against the press for reporting the news”.

Peaceful Assembly

On 3rd June 2017, a coalition of 17 civil society organisations held "March for Truth" protests in more than 135 cities across the United States. The coalition is demanding an impartial investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign in the lead-up to the presidential elections in November 2016. Thousands of protesters turned out to participate in the marches in 40 states.  

The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) has developed a US Protest Law Tracker to monitor state legislation affecting the right to peaceful assembly. The Tracker documents legislation that has either been proposed or passed since November 2016.

According to the latest update on 4th July 2017, there have been 35 bills in total, 12 of which are still pending and eight that have been passed into law. These bills include restrictions on protest activities, increased penalties for protesters as well as expanded government authority to curtail protest activities.

On 11th July 2017, two civil society organisations - DC National Lawyers Guild (DC NLG) and Defending Rights and Dissent - filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for official records on the Metropolitan Police Department’s use of force against protesters on 20th January 2017.

According to Maggie Ellinger-Locke, co-chair of the DC NLG Demonstration Support Committee,

“The police assault on the right to protest on January 20 is part of a broader trend of cracking down on dissent taking place across the nation. We hope that shedding light on the MPD’s actions during the inauguration will be an important step to promoting real police accountability”.

During Inauguration Day activities on 20th January, members of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia used excessive force against protesters and journalists, including the use of tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets.