Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

ONE DAY left in this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

Iowa Journalist Andrea Sahouri Acquitted on Misdemeanor Charges From 2020 Protest Coverage

WASHINGTON -

In response to today’s acquittal of Des Moines Register reporter Andrea Sahouri by a court in Polk County, Iowa, on two misdemeanor charges stemming from her coverage of protests last year, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:

“The acquittal of journalist Andrea Sahouri in Iowa today is a welcome relief, but Polk County prosecutors never should have filed charges against her in the first place,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna. “Reporting is not a crime, and journalists should not be punished for doing their jobs and covering matters of public interest.”

Police pepper-sprayed and arrested Sahouri while she was covering a Black Lives Matter protest in Des Moines on May 31, 2020; the Polk County prosecutor subsequently charged her with failure to disperse and interference with official acts, two simple misdemeanors, according to CPJ reporting and the Des Moines Register. Under Iowa law, simple misdemeanors can carry fines of $65 to $625, as well as up to 30 days in jail.

About a dozen other journalists face ongoing legal action in the United States in relation to their reporting, according to CPJ reporting and CPJ’s partner organization, the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

###

The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide. We defend the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal.

'What's There to Even Discuss?' Omar Says Free, Universal School Meals Should Be Permanent

"We have an opportunity to prove that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can still deliver big things. And we can feed tens of millions of hungry kids while we do it."

Jake Johnson ·


'Stark Betrayal': Biden Administration Floats New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

"This is the third time since November the Biden administration has announced new oil and gas leasing plans on the Friday before a holiday," said one climate advocate. "They're ashamed, and they should be."

Jake Johnson ·


As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·


Assange Makes Final Appeal Against US Extradition

"If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we," said a protester at a Friday demonstration against the WikiLeaks founder's impending transfer. "None of us is free."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo