(Los Angeles, CA) — At a time when assaults on journalists and threats to press freedom are on the rise in the United States, PEN America will participate in the first-ever LA Press Freedom Week, presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the Los Angeles Times from September 16-19. LA Press Freedom Week will focus on convening journalists, media advocates, and free expression stakeholders for conversations about the importance of press freedom and the First Amendment. 

On September 17, 2019, PEN America and the Committee to Protect Journalists will present Points of Entry: Press Freedom at the U.S. Border at Santa Monica College’s Center for Media and Design from 7-9:30PM. Panelists include investigative journalist Tom Jones of NBC San Diego; photojournalist Ariana Drehsler; Committee to Protect Journalists advocacy director Courtney Radsch; PEN America director of US free expression programs Nora Benavidez; and general director of the Tijuana-based magazine Zeta Adela Navarro. The event is free, and open to the public. RSVP here. 

“The public is only aware of the horrific treatment of migrants because reporters have put their careers, and sometimes their lives, on the line to cover these stories,” said Nora Benavidez, director of US free expression programs at PEN America. “The cost for journalists engaged in these critically important investigations has been detention and separation from work product materials such as notes and cameras, as well as extensive monitoring by the U.S. government into their personal lives. The privacy violations mount nearly weekly as reporters attempt to investigate what is happening at these detention centers. It’s time the media freedom and legal communities rally together with members of the press to elevate the role journalists play and to seek accountability for the federal government efforts to silence those trying to do their job.”

Points of Entry: Press Freedom at the U.S. Border will bring together journalists, legal experts, and press freedom advocates to discuss the privacy and human rights implications facing journalists who seek to cover news regarding immigration and the US-Mexico border. From large-scale surveillance and targeting of journalists, to the denial of press access to detention centers around the country, to detention of reporters trying to cover news at the border itself, the U.S. government’s attempts to intimidate those reporting on the immigration crisis has implications for the public as a whole.

PEN America and its partners will examine the unique role members of the press play in helping bring to light some of the most urgent issues facing this country. Panelists will consider emerging efforts to protect journalists from surveillance, suppression, and retaliation. They will also discuss combatting government overreach in the effort to provide the public with accounts of what is happening at the southern borders, in child detention centers across the country, and at other places where human rights violations are happening.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. PEN America is headquartered in New York City, with offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. 

CONTACT: Stephen Fee, Director of Communications, [email protected], +1 202 309 8892