Amid hundreds of reports of police targeting journalists and attacking freedom of the press, the New York Police Department this week proposed new rules to bar journalists from covering official police activity. PEN America’s Nora Benavidez, director of U.S. free expression programs, said the following:

“The New York Police Department’s new proposal is a blatant effort to weaken our free press. It would grant extreme latitude for officers to revoke reporters’ credentials if they determine a journalist has interfered with ‘legitimate law enforcement needs.’ This kind of unbridled police discretion begs the question: Whose interests are furthered by restricting the press’s ability to document law enforcement conduct? Certainly not the public. The past two months have highlighted the vital role of journalists in holding law enforcement accountable and informing the public. That essential work should not be done under threat of unconstitutional attacks by the government.”