The following joint statement was released on April 7, 2023.
The Los Angeles Journalists Coalition opposes a lawsuit by the City of Los Angeles against journalist Ben Camacho and Stop LAPD Spying Coalition. The lawsuit seeks to ban further publication of documents the City itself released and which have already been distributed to the public.
The City’s sweeping demand for censorship defies logic as well as the First Amendment. The City Attorney’s additional threat of law enforcement seizure sends a chilling warning to any journalist or individual who would lawfully use the Public Records Act to learn about their own government.
By now, members of the public and other news organizations have seen and likely downloaded these images. The City’s demanded injunction against Camacho and a grassroots advocacy group would punish both with silence while others would retain the full power to continue to publish and disseminate these images.
If the City is truly seeking to protect the undercover police officers whose identities it released, the City is now only drawing even more attention to those officers’ identities through its aggressive and unreasonable encroachment on press freedoms. Further pursuit of this ill-considered lawsuit can only do more harm than good.
Asian American Journalists Association, Los Angeles
CCNMA Latino Journalists of California
Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists
IWW Freelance Journalists Union
Los Angeles Press Club
Media Guild of the West, The NewsGuild-CWA Local 39213
National Association of Black Journalists of Los Angeles
National Association of Hispanic Journalists
National Press Photographers Association
National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, Los Angeles Chapter
Ismael Parra, as chair of the National Writers Union, SoCal Chapter
Online News Association Los Angeles
Orange County Press Club
Radio Television Digital News Association
Society of Professional Journalists