NAJA responds to unlawful arrest of journalist Jenni Monet

Posted by Media Release on 02/02/2017

NORMAN, Okla. -- The Native American Journalists Association calls on North Dakota officials and Morton County Sheriff’s Department to release Indigenous journalist Jenni Monet who was arrested while covering Dakota Access Pipeline protests outside the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Ms. Monet is known to North Dakota authorities due to her previous reporting on DAPL activities and was wearing her press credentials when taken into custody. The arrest of a clearly credentialed journalist is a violation of free press principles. North Dakota has already attempted to silence journalists by issuing arrest warrants for Amy Goodman, and both bloggers and reporters have been injured by police projectiles. NAJA condemns the use of excessive force by North Dakota authorities on reporters.

“Yesterday’s unlawful arrest of Native journalist Jenni Monet by Morton County officers is patently illegal and a blatant betrayal of our closely held American values of free speech and a free press,” NAJA President Bryan Pollard said, “Jenni is an accomplished journalist and consummate professional who was covering a story on behalf of Indian Country Today. Unfortunately, this arrest is not unprecedented, and Morton County officials must review their officer training and department policies to ensure that officers are able and empowered to distinguish between protesters and journalists who are in pursuit of truthful reporting.”

Journalists covering activities undertaken by security forces and protestors at the Dakota Access Pipeline site perform an important civic service: They provide information to the public. NAJA demands that Morton County Sheriff’s Department stop obstructing journalists from performing their constitutionally-protected jobs and release Ms. Monet immediately.