Some of the nation’s most prestigious news organizations, including AP and The New York Times, are condemning New York City’s treatment of the media, writing in a letter that “police actions of last week have been more hostile to the press than any other event in recent memory.”
From the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the NYPD has behaved aggressively toward the media, particularly freelancers and citizen journalists who have not been able to win press credentials from the police department.
Cops in the city have arrested journalists trying to cover the movement, and now mainstream outlets are claiming they were prevented from even seeing the clearing of Zuccotti Park.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said police kept journalists away from the scene for their own protection. —PZS
AP via Google:
“The police actions of last week have been more hostile to the press than any other event in recent memory,” a coalition of media organizations and journalist groups said in a letter to chief New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne.
The New York Civil Liberties Union sent another letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, covering similar ground.
“The numerous reports we have received and have learned of make clear to us that the NYPD is aggressively blocking journalists from doing their constitutionally protected work and in some instances is even targeting journalists for mistreatment,” that letter said.
Update: Truthdig’s man in New York, Alex Kelly, sends this personal account of being manhandled by the NYPD while trying to cover Occupy Wall Street:
While a number of protesters were blocking pedestrian access to a sidewalk that led to Wall Street offices, across the street from Trinity Church, I tucked myself into the recess of a phone booth. Moments later a group of riot cops fell in on the protesters and began wrestling with them. I was filming the encounter with my iPhone (it’s not very good video) when another demonstrator ran past me and into a food cart. I leaned out of the the booth to get the shot, and at that moment a cop turned around and saw me. He grabbed the hand that held the phone and forced it down and behind my back, gripping tight. Then he turned me around and with his other hand grabbed me by the nape of my neck, picked me up and led me off the sidewalk into the street. I was shouting things like “I’m a reporter! I’m press! Let me go!” I managed to get the attention of a white shirt who seemed to motion to the goon to put me down. He shoved me away from the sidewalk and said, “Get out of here.”
© Jeff Pappas