National Press Club

National Press Club statement on reporters Wesley Lowery and Ryan Reilly

August 11, 2015 | By John Donnelly |

Following is a statement by National Press Club President John Hughes on the circumstances surrounding the possible legal jeopardy for reporters Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of Huffington Post who were covering the disturbances in Ferguson, Mo., last year.

“We were surprised and disappointed to hear that St. Louis County, Mo., is bringing charges against reporters Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of Huffington Post related to their brief detention while working more than a year ago when they were in a McDonald’s close to the action in Ferguson. We understand they are threatened with arrest if they appear in Ferguson.

“We know that there was a chaotic situation in Ferguson, but police should have a compelling law enforcement reason to physically restrain reporters and charges should only be leveled if there is real resistance by journalists. In this case it seems that Lowery and Reilly were working as journalists in the McDonald’s.

“We will continue to watch this situation but it does not seem to rise to the level of prosecution of working journalists. Further, we are concerned that law enforcement must be aware that both Lowery and Reilly as well as many of their colleagues are likely to be in Ferguson both because of the anniversary and the recent incidents. They will be there to work and should be allowed to do their jobs. The issues related to last year should be either dropped or worked out separately from coverage of activities in the field today.”

Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists and has more than 3,100 members worldwide. The Club is a leading advocate for Press Freedom.