Albany, NY – In order to provide additional protections for journalists on the job, Governor Cuomo has proposed legislation to increase the penalties for assaulting a reporter to a felony.
“Reporters have a tough enough job as it and it is unacceptable and unconscionable that they increasingly have to endure the threat of physical harm for just for doing their jobs,” Governor Cuomo said. “While the current federal administration is fostering an environment that normalizes and even encourages attacks on the press, New York is taking a stand. It is my hope that other states join us in enacting these protections into law once and for all.”
This legislation will increase the penalty for assaulting a journalist from a misdemeanor to a class D felony. Similar protections exist for nurses, utility workers, MTA employees, emergency medical service technicians and process servers.
The freedom of the press is a constitutionally-guaranteed right and a pillar of our democracy. Recently there have been attacks on journalists, news outlets, and members of the press. In 2017, a congressional candidate violently assaulted a reporter for asking unwanted questions—an act that was later celebrated by President Trump. Last October, a Florida man was accused of mailing 14 bombs addressed to prominent political figures and news agencies. In August 2018, a California man was arrested after calling the Boston Globe approximately a dozen times threatening to shoot reporters.