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Blumenthal: It's Time to Make Violence Against Journalists a Federal Crime

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) on Tuesday announced that he would be reintroducing the Journalism Protection Act, which would make it a federal crime to "intentionally cause bodily injury to a journalist affecting interstate or foreign commerce in the course of reporting, or in a manner designed to intimidate him or her from newsgathering for a media organization."

"We know from the incidents that have occurred in the past, and in fact, some of these attacks on journalists have been fatal, that there is a segment of the population that feels an antipathy towards the press that they express verbally [with] these threats and also, at the extreme, physically in direct attacks on the press," Blumenthal said during his announcement. 

According to the Connecticut Senator, Congress needs to address the "continuing violence, whether by guns or other means, against the press. It may intimidate them in their vital news gathering."

He mentioned the controversial video depicted of President Trump attacking the "fake news media," but said he offered this bill before the video surfaced.

“I offered this bill last session before any of these videos surfaced,” Blumenthal said. “It is a priority for me to protect news gathering operations — no matter what their form.”

If passed, the bill would carry up to three years for bodily injury and up to six years and a fine for serious bodily injury for anyone who attacks a member of the press. 

The bill would protect a wide range of media professions, including journalists, book authors, photographers and "any other media that involves communication with the public."

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