First Amendment rights have been under siege since the inauguration of Donald Trump last Friday. It all started when 6 journalists were arrested while covering the anti-Trump riots after the inauguration ceremony. They are facing felony charges and could receive 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted. This course of action is not only unheard of in the United States, but is also absurd. Police arrested 230 people, many of whom seem to have been bystanders. This is known as an arrest en masse based on location. The felony charges have been denounced by the journalists and their employers.

Freedom of the press

The United States is well known for being a country in which the press can report on current news without fear of prosecution from the reigning administration. This move to prosecute journalists for simply doing their job is unsettling for the future of the First Amendment. Witnesses at the event claim that the group arrests were made for rioters, protestors, and journalists without discrimination. Lawyer Mark Goldstone told The Associated Press that the police had "basically identified a location that had problems and arrested everyone in that location." The Police Department in Washington has refused to comment on the situation.

Trump's gag orders

Freedom of the press is not the only piece from the First Amendment that has come under fire.

Freedom of speech also seems to be a popular target for the new president. In his first few days, Trump signed executive orders banning multiple government agencies from using any form of social media. The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Parks Service were among a few of the government agencies who were officially gagged by President Trump.

The Badlands National Park quickly gained recognition when they decided to ignore Trump's executive gag order and went rogue.

They continued to tweet until their account was forcibly shut down. Even after, they made an unofficial Twitter account and continued sending out tweets regarding climate change. The new account gained over 90,000 followers in under 6 hours.

The Department of Agriculture has since rescinded Trump's executive orders, giving all federal agencies their freedom of speech back. The fact that it was interrupted at all is a serious cause for alarm.

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