Executive Board Statement January 2021

The White House News Photographers Association strongly condemns all violence and threats of violence committed against journalists covering the siege on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. We heard many disturbing reports of journalists being physically and verbally attacked by protesters during these events. We saw images of television gear being destroyed by some of the rioters and some of our colleagues who tried to protect their gear were beaten. The verbal abuse our members faced throughout the day was threatening and extreme. All of this is unacceptable.

We call on officials to arrest and prosecute those responsible for these actions. We demand better protection from police in these situations going forward. While many U.S. Capitol Police were concerned for the safety of journalists and many did their job of trying to usher people to safety when the doors were breached, we also saw disturbing reports of efforts by police to arrest journalists who were there documenting these events, which is also unacceptable.

Finally, we call on our leaders at all levels of our government to stand up against the tyranny that cultivates and enables this hatred toward journalists. The ability for journalists to freely and safely document historic moments must be protected. Without the work of brave visual journalists at the Capitol, there would be little or no independent historical record of one of the most important events in U.S. political history. If our freedom to do this vital work is put in jeopardy, then our very democracy is put jeopardy. Violence and threats against journalists cannot and must not stand.

White House News Photographers Association Executive Board