ATLANTA – The Georgia First Amendment Foundation (“GFAF”) is concerned about law enforcement’s use of pepper balls and tear gas against protestors at Emory University and about reports of police interference with journalists covering the protests.

Speech and assembly rights are essential to democracy and a critical means for people collectively to express their views; to associate or affirm group identity; to contribute to social, political, cultural, and religious discourse; and to hold the powerful to account. These are constitutionally protected rights, and in Georgia protest has long been a vital tool for those seeking to amplify their voices and causes.

Moreover, given credible accounts of police interference with the work of journalists covering the protests, GFAF encourages police administrators to make clear to their officers that journalists have the right and democratic responsibility to produce independent coverage of assemblies and to hold authorities accountable for their actions. Their reporting should not be met with interference or done under threat of a police response.

The Georgia First Amendment Foundation, established in 1994, is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that advocates across the state for the freedoms of speech, press, and assembly, as well as information access. Find more information at, and for additional resources related to protests, see this tip sheet for journalists covering protests, this webinar exploring the relationship between law enforcement and the First Amendment, and this webinar about news coverage of protests.