This bill — the Journalist Protection Act — would make assault against journalists a federal crime if the assault is committed while the journalist is news-gathering or done to intimidate or impede news-gathering by the journalist. Causing bodily injury to a journalist would be punishable by up to three years imprisonment and fines, while serious bodily injury would be punished by up to six years imprisonment and fines.
What is House Bill H.R. 4935?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 4935
In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) introduced this bill to make a federal crime of certain attacks on journalists reporting the news:
“President Donald Trump’s campaign and administration have created a toxic atmosphere. It’s not just about labelling reports of his constant falsehoods as #FakeNews — it’s his casting of media personalities and outlets as anti-American targets, and encouraging people to engage in violence.
Not all attacks on journalists this year have been committed by Trump supporters, but the fact remains that rhetoric emanating from the world’s most powerful office is stoking an environment in which these attacks proliferate. We must send a loud, clear message that such violence won’t be tolerated.”
In a column for The Daily Signal, Amy Swearer — a visiting legal fellow at the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation — wrote in opposition to this bill:
“While the president has occasionally spoken out harshly against the media, he has not deviated from previous administrations in his legal treatment of them. The press has not been restricted in any substantive way, and the First Amendment remains a shining example of liberty even as countries like France move to suppress anything the government deems “fake news.”
The federal criminal code is already dangerously broad and complex, and there is no need to add a toothless statute that duplicates vigorously enforced state laws and amounts to little more than political pandering. This is particularly so when, like the Journalist Protection Act, the statute is a solution in need of a problem.”
This legislation has the support of 12 cosponsors in the House, all of whom are Democrats.
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: microgen / iStock)
Journalist Protection Act
To amend title 18, United States Code, to provide a penalty for assault against journalists, and for other purposes.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
- The house has not voted
Committee on the JudiciaryIntroducedFebruary 5th, 2018
- house Committees