Don’t Punish Journalist for Asking Questions

Target: Chuck Miller, Kanawha County, Virginia Prosecuting Attorney

Goal: Drop charges against a reporter who was arrested for asking the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services questions regarding the American Health Care Act.

A West Virginia reporter was unfairly arrested and charged with “willful disruption of government processes” in the state capitol of Charleston after he repeatedly questioned Tom Price, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, as to whether or not domestic violence would be considered a pre-existing condition under the proposed American Health Care Act. Capitol police arrested journalist David Heyman, claiming he was “aggressively breaching the Secret Service agents” for both Price and Kellyanne Conway, who was also present for the secretary’s visit to Charleston.

Heyman claims he was never warned that he was in an area he shouldn’t be, and that he was merely doing his job in questioning Secretary Price. The American Health Care Act, which recently passed the House of Representatives, has been highly controversial due to its allowance for creating high-risk insurance pools for those who are deemed to have a “pre-existing” condition. This could block thousands of Americans from accessing the health care they need. Heyman’s question regarded a hotly contested portion of the Act which labels rape and domestic violence as a pre-existing condition, which many have criticized as being blatantly sexist.

While the Secret Service does have an obligation to protect politicians such as Price and Conway from harm, they should not have the ability to call for the arrest of journalists simply for exercising their constitutionally sanctioned right to ask questions and report freely. Heyman now faces charges that could result in six months in jail if found guilty.

Heyman’s arrest and prosecution is unfair and likely violates his First Amendment rights. Sign this petition to tell the local prosecuting attorney that journalists should not be punished for doing their jobs and that these charges must be dropped.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Miller,

The free press in the United States once against appears to be under fire after a reporter in Charleston was arrested and charged with “willful disruption of government processes” for questioning the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services on the new American Health Care Act. The man in question, David Heyman, was simply exercising his constitutional rights to report on this important and hotly debated topic.

Allegedly, Secret Service agents called for Heyman’s arrest after he had “breached” an area he was not allowed in. However, Heyman was never warned he was in an off-limits area, and claims he was arrested without explanation.

Heyman’s arrest represents an outrageous attack against the journalistic process. We, the undersigned, demand that all charges against him be dropped immediately.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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4 Comments

  1. Kathryn Irby says:

    A Journalist’s JOB IS TO ASK QUESTIONS!!! DO NOT PUNISH ANY JOURNALIST FOR DOING HIS/HER JOB!!! RIDICULOUS NOTION!

  2. Selena Brooks says:

    He was doing his job! This administration is the worst ever for this country.

  3. This is outrageous!

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