Protect Freedom of The Press: Drop Charges Against Journalists for Covering ND Pipeline Protests

  • by: Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
  • recipient: North Dakota Police, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple, U.S. Attorney General Chris Myers and President Obama:

In North Dakota, journalists are being targeted and arrested for covering peaceful protests against a harmful pipeline. These arrests are a clear and blatant attempt to suppress the press from reporting on human rights violations committed by the state acting on behalf of oil and gas companies. 

As Earth Guardians around the globe, we demand that North Dakota officials drop the charges against journalists and that President Obama ask the DOJ to investigate the unlawful arrests.

Even at 16 years old, I know the importance of the first amendment of the constitution, which protects the freedom of our press. It's an essential right in a free country and is something that sets us apart from countries around the world where reporters are locked up for reporting on human rights violations. But right now that's exactly what's happening:

Democracy Now's Amy Goodman was charged with criminal trespassing and inciting a riot simply for filming an attack on Native American-led water protectors. Amy's charges were dropped, but documentarian Deia Schlosberg, the producer of Josh Fox's new climate change documentary could face up to 45 years in prison if convicted of charged levied against her for filming a protest. Actress and activist Shailene Woodley along with many other peaceful protestors have been arrested as well. 

We cannot let corporations and police violate the first amendment and intimidate our work towards a healthy and sustainable future. Please sign on to demand our constitutional right of freedom of the press is protected!

Notable supporters: 

  • Josh Fox, Oscar Nominated director, documentarian and filmmaker
  • Daryl Hannah, actress/activist
  • Neil Young, musician
  • Frances Fisher, Activist, Treasurer - EMA, Actress
  • LEE CAMP, Host, Redacted Tonight
  • Christopher Ryan, writer
  • Bill McKibben, Writer, Co-Founder 350.org
  • Mark Ruffalo, Actor, Director, Activist
  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
  • David Braun, Director, Writer, Producer
  • Alex Ebert (AKA Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) golden globe winner
  • Steven Tabakin, Peabody Award-winning film producer
  • Chloe Maxmin, Founder First Here, Then Everywhere
  • Alexis Krauss, musician
  • Jon Bowermaster, author, filmmaker, journalist
  • Alexander Zaitchik, author/journalist
  • Francesca Fiorentini, Journalist
  • Paul Bassis, Producer
  • Tim DeChristopher, Founder of Climate Disobedience The Action Center for Education & Community Development, Inc.
  • Nathan Truesdell Documentary Filmmaker
  • Bethany Yarrow, singer/activist
  • Chris Paine, director "who killed the electric car"
  • Vallejo Gantner, curator, arts executive
  • Jane Kleeb, Our Revolution Board Member, Nebraska Democratic Party Chair-Elect
  • Tanya Rivero Warren, journalist
  • Maggie Surovell, Professor of voice and speech
  • Seven McDonald Award Winning Columnist (LA Weekly, Harper's Bazaar, Nylon)
  • Henry Lai, director of product design, Echo360
  • Councilman Robert Eklund, Town of New Lisbon NY
  • Julia Pacetti President of JMP Verdant Communications
  • Deborah Parker, Tulalip Tribal Citizen, Board Member, Our Revolution
  • Greg King, Editor, Filmmaker
  • Alex Tyson, Filmmaker
  • Alison Klayman, Sundance-winning, Emmy-nominated documentarian and filmmaker
  • Stefanie Spear, Founder/CEO EcoWatch
  • Randy Paynter, Founder and CEO, Care2
  • Joe Baker, VP of Advocacy, Care2

 

Dear President Obama,


 


In 2014, you awarded me the Youth Changemaker of the Year award for my work in climate justice. As I continue to fight for a just and sustainable world, I have benefitted from the media spreading my message and amplifying my voice in the mainstream. Even at 16 years old, I know the importance of the first amendment of the constitution, which protects the freedom of our press. 


This is an essential right in a free country and it is something that sets us apart from countries around the world where we see reporters are being locked up for reporting on human rights violations. 


Unfortunately, this very thing is happening in our country at this moment. In North Dakota, journalists are being targeted and arrested for covering pipeline protests. These arrests are a clear and blatant attempt to suppress the press from reporting on human rights violations committed by the state acting on behalf of oil and gas companies. 


On September 8th, Democracy Now's Amy Goodman was charged with criminal trespassing for filming an attack on Native American-led water protectors. As seen on video, she was simply documenting the attacks by private security. Actress and activist Shailene Woodley was recently arrested as well, along with 27 others for peacefully demonstrating at the site where Energy Transfer Partners is building the Dakota Access Pipeline.


Most recently, documentarian filmmaker Deia Schlosberg, the producer of Josh Fox's new climate change documentary was arrested while filming a protest in North Dakota and faced three felony conspiracy charges - with up to 45 years in prison if convicted. They threw the book at her for being a journalist.


We cannot let corporations and police violate the first amendment and intimidate our work towards a healthy and sustainable future. On behalf of Earth Guardians around the globe, I am demanding that you instruct the Department of Justice to do a full investigation into these unlawful arrests and defend our Constitution and that the charges against journalists are dropped immediately.

Update #31 years ago
Permit Denied!
The Army Corps has rejected the DAPL permit to cross the Missouri River - this is a huge win for Standing Rock Sioux Water Protectors and allies! The fight isn’t over though - keep saying #NoDAPL and share this image on FB!
Update #21 years ago
On Tuesday, November 15th, join a massive day of action in solidarity with those at Standing Rock, and demand the Federal government and the Army Corps reject this pipeline.
Update #11 years ago
Update: The "riot" charge against Amy Goodman was dropped. However, in addition to all else, an Indigenous film maker named Myron Dewey has now been charged and his drone confiscated for gathering footage of pipeline construction near the Standing Rock reservation. Please share this petition far and wide to ensure that our First Amendment rights and journalists' charged are dropped.
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