The School supports the rights and responsibilities of journalists to report on the community.
Recent civil unrest in Minneapolis and St. Paul has drawn national attention to the professional journalism community. The Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication supports the rights and responsibilities of journalists to report on the community during this time. On Friday, May 29, 2020 at approximately 5:15 a.m. Omar Jimenez and members of the CNN reporting team were arrested by Minnesota State Patrol troopers. During his live reporting, Jimenez was challenged by law enforcement. Video evidence documents that Jimenez and his crew identified themselves as working journalists, and that Jimenez asked them where he should stand while recording. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz apologized and all CNN journalists were released.
“The Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication takes seriously its responsibility to educate the public on the rights and responsibilities protecting press freedoms covered by the First Amendment,” said Elisia Cohen, Director and Professor of the Hubbard School. “It does so through the work of its faculty, the Minnesota Journalism Center and the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law. We have partnered with the Society of Professional Journalists to host a number of programs in recent years training journalists how to ethically and responsibly cover protests. I condemn the arrest of Omar Jimenez and the CNN journalists. Journalists have a First Amendment right and responsibility to lawfully cover protests.”
The Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law, which is housed within the Hubbard School also released a statement today. “The CNN crew, as well as all journalists, have a First Amendment right to cover the protests,” said Jane E. Kirtley, Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law and director of the Silha Center. “Although, like other members of the public, they cannot impede or interfere with legitimate law enforcement activity, they must be allowed to conduct lawful newsgathering. The seizure of these journalists and their equipment violates not only the First Amendment, but the federal Privacy Protection Act of 1980, which shields journalists from unlawful seizure of their work product and documentary materials.”
“It is less than 10 years ago that the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul settled a lawsuit brought by Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman and her colleagues after violating their constitutional rights by arresting them during their reporting on the Republican National Convention in 2008. It is disheartening that the lesson that government cannot interfere with newsgathering has been so quickly forgotten,” Kirtley said.
Located in Minneapolis in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota, the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication is a national leader in education, research and service. With an enrollment of more than 1,000 students, the Hubbard School offers graduate, professional and undergraduate degree programs, as well as continuing education programs for working professionals through its Minnesota Journalism Center and Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law.