Oct 13, 2016
Award-winning journalist and Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman will turn herself in to police in North Dakota next Monday to face charges stemming from her coverage of a Dakota Access Pipeline protest last month.
Goodman, whose camera crew filmed a private security team attacking peaceful Native American protesters with dogs and pepper spray, faces charges of criminal trespassing--which many have said amounts to an assault on press freedom. The arrest warrant was issued on September 8.
In a media advisory issued Thursday, Goodman said, "I will go back to North Dakota to fight this charge. It is a clear violation of the First Amendment. I was doing my job as a journalist, covering a violent attack on Native American protesters."
Prominent journalists and rights advocates have called on North Dakota prosecutors to drop the charges against Goodman.
On Thursday, Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi wrote in a column that Goodman "was clearly acting as a reporter at the protest. Moreover, she's as close to the ideal of what it means to be a journalist as one can get in this business."
He noted that Democracy Now!'s video of the attack, which went viral with more than 14 million people viewing it on Facebook, helped secure support from the Obama administration--which halted construction on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land and asked the company to "voluntarily" stop building in the area.
And Carlos Lauria, senior program coordinator for the Americas at the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in a statement in September, "This arrest warrant is a transparent attempt to intimidate reporters from covering protests of significant public interest. Authorities in North Dakota should stop embarrassing themselves, drop the charges against Amy Goodman, and ensure that all reporters are free to do their jobs."
The pipeline faces ongoing opposition from tribes and activists in North Dakota and around the country.
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