SACRAMENTO (AP) — California will protect journalists from interference by police while covering civil protests under a bill signed into law Saturday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
It was the second new law within days with free speech implications.
The measure says that reporters can be behind police lines in the area of demonstrations, marches or rallies without being cited or arrested. It bars police from “intentionally assaulting, interfering with, or obstructing” their newsgathering.
Newsom last year vetoed a similar measure over police agencies’ concern that the measure would allow reporters into emergency field command posts, along with other areas closed to the general public.
The bill’s author, Democratic Sen. Mike McGuire, and others said it is similar to existing California law that allows reporters into places like wildfire or other disaster evacuation zones.