NENPA offered free legal services to reporters covering Boston protests

September 13, 2017

BOSTON—After thousands of people attended the Aug. 20 “Free Speech Rally” and counter-demonstrations in Boston, the New England Newspaper & Press Association and Prince Lobel Tye offered free legal services to any reporter who was arrested or faced difficulties with the police when covering the protests this weekend. These free services are also available to reporters facing legal trouble after the protests during other activities that may have stemmed from the event.
“Typically, these legal services are provided free only to NENPA members,” said Michael Schroeder, NENPA president and publisher of Central Connecticut Communications. “However, the association recognizes the magnitude of the situation in Boston and is working with Prince Lobel Tye to offer free legal counsel to any journalist in any media outlet regardless of membership status.”
Reporters who needed assistance were told to call the NENPA Media Law Hotline at 888-428-7490.
The NENPA media law hotline was in operation from Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, through Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017, at 5 p.m. Reporters could also use the association’s backup number, 617-456-8018. To make sure reporters could reach out for help, they were also provided with the email hotline@princelobel.com or tweet @PLT_Media. Rob Bertsche, NENPA general counsel and the chair of Prince Lobel’s Media and First Amendment Group, was the attorney coordinating calls for the hotline, along with a full crew of Prince Lobel attorneys who volunteered.
In addition, with at least four journalists attacked while covering recent protests in Virginia, the  New England First Amendment Coalition has asked that anyone with information about threats to the news media during the protests in Boston to email the coalition’s executive director at justin@nefac.org or to report the incident directly to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.
NEFAC has recently partnered with 28 national press advocates and media organizations to create an online repository for reports of attacks against the news media. This nonpartisan website aims to be the first to provide reliable, easy-to-access information on the number of press freedom violations in the U.S.—from journalists facing charges to reporters stopped at the U.S. border or asked to hand over their electronics.

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