The Radio Television Digital News Association has shared a number of guidelines for news coverage surrounding the protests and civil unrest after the death of George Floyd.
RTDNA Guidelines: Civil Unrest
Whether to protest a police shooting, to express outrage over a verdict or to express passion on any political issue, taking to the streets is as American as the First Amendment. The Constitution protects “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
But things get trickier when peaceful protest is accompanied or replaced by violent disturbance. From Baltimore to Berkeley, things can spin quickly out of control — for participants, for police and for journalists, whose job is to report on such events and the issues that surround them.
RTDNA Guidelines: Journalist Arrests
No journalist goes out in the field planning to get arrested but journalists are being arrested with increasing frequency as they try to do their jobs covering protests, asking questions of politicians, or sometimes just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
We strongly recommend that every newsroom have an arrest protocol and that newsroom leaders make sure reporters, producers, photographers or anyone else who might be in the field be aware of the protocol.
The best defense against being arrested is to know the law. For example, everyone has the right to record the actions of police officers or interview someone in a public place. But sometimes a sidewalk in front of a building is not public property, and public locations may not be public after an order to disperse has been issued by authorities.