SAG-AFTRA members in Seattle are very concerned about their safety after the Seattle Police Department subpoenaed their unaired video in an effort to find criminals among the protesters. Journalists have already been the target of harassment from protesters citing SPD's initial victory in court. We believe the Seattle City Council should condemn the use of a subpoena for this reason and we believe the court should rightfully declare it a violation of the First Amendment.
Under our system of government, journalists play a fundamental role in the maintenance of a democracy. Press freedom is the right on which all of our other rights rest. This summer, as protests have erupted nationwide, the press has come under even more pernicious assault. Whether perpetrated by the public or by the state, acts of violence on journalists bringing news to the communities they serve are a betrayal of our nation’s founding principle that a free press is necessary for the maintenance of a free government. The Seattle Police department’s use of a subpoena in this situation further threatens the safety of all journalists, and for this reason, we join with our employers and other advocates for a free press in opposition to this subpoena.