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California protects reporters covering protests with new law

California First Amendment
Posted at 10:20 AM, Oct 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-12 13:20:32-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California will protect journalists from interference by police while covering civil protests.

A bill signed into law Saturday by Gov. Gavin Newsom says that reporters can be behind police lines in the area of demonstrations, marches or rallies without being cited or arrested.

It also bars police from “intentionally assaulting, interfering with, or obstructing” their newsgathering.

Newsom last year vetoed a similar measure over police agencies’ concern that the measure would allow reporters into emergency field command posts, along with other areas closed to the general public.

Supporters said it is similar to existing California law that allows reporters into places like wildfire or other disaster evacuation zones.