Police arrest journalists covering Occupiers

Monday, November 21, 2011

When journalists go to work in the U.S., every day they know they might inadvertantly annoy or anger those who hold public office or employment. However, this is America- we hold expectations that journalists have the right to freely gather and distribute information to the general public. Lately, in the name of "protection", as New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg charactized it, journalists have been dealing with serious obstacles.

According to the First Amendment Center, on November 15 over a dozen journalists were arrested while covering the overnight raid of Occupy Wall Street's encampment, and many more were kept at a distance from the developing story. Julie Walker, a freelance radio journalist working for National Public Radio, was arrested for disorderly conduct while walking a few blocks north of Zucotti Park. She said the officer grabbed her arm twice, took her recorder and arrested her after she asked to know his name and badge number.

Why is the police force wasting time trying to block journalists from accessing an event of national interest? American foreign correspondents risk their lives travelling to many brutal dictatorships to cover protests, yet here in the American democracy journalists are arrested for their own "protection". City officials are protecting no one but themselves. It is a journalist's right to put themselves at risk for a story, and they are not in need of officials helicoptering over them. The American public deserves to know the story.


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