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30 Journalists Arrested Covering Occupy Movement

30 Journalists Arrested Covering Occupy Movement

30 journalists have been arrested at the Occupy Wall Street protests including some at the recent police raids on Occupy LA and Occupy Philly. The arrests have occurred in 10 cities, including Atlanta, Boston, Chapel Hill, New York City, Oakland and Richmond.

On Thursday, Free Press delivered a petition with more than 40,000 signatures to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, president of the United States Conference of Mayors. The petition calls on US mayors to protect First Amendment rights and  to protect journalists covering the Occupy movement.

Why mayors need to call a halt to such attacks was made all too clear just yesterday night, November 30, in Manhattan. Despite an order from New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly not to (as the Associated Press describes it) “unreasonably interfere with media access during news coverage and warning those who do will be subject to disciplinary action,” journalists trying to report on an Occupy Wall Street protest outside of a Midtown fund-raiser for President Barack Obama were still harassed:

When Josh Harkinson, a New York-based staff writer for Mother Jones, showed up around 9:30 and identified himself to police as a journalist, he was told to leave the area, he said.

Later, he was able to sneak past police and gain access to the protesters along with another journalist, Andrew Katz, who reports for The Brooklyn Ink, a local website produced by Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Harkinson said he again identified himself as a journalist and started interviewing protesters from a spot in front of the barricade. That’s when an officer grabbed him and physically escorted him away from the scene, he said.

“It wasn’t violent, but he pushed me out,” Harkinson said.

The protesters were limited to a “free-speech zone” marked by police barricades near the Obama event; journalists were not allowed anywhere near it without police stepping in. MSNBC’s Meg Robertson said that, on identifying herself as a member of the press, the NYPD “would not let [her] close to the penned in area.”

Journalists’ reporting about the Occupy protests has been vital, to say the least. US mayors and authorities are treading into dangerous waters if they think they can limit what gets told about the Occupy movement, about what is going on in their own cities and community — if they think they can censor what people know.

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103 comments

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7:45AM PST on Jan 20, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

3:48AM PST on Jan 22, 2012

I found the most disturbing part of this whole article to be "The protesters were limited to a “free-speech zone", last time I checked the constitution say's all of America is a free speech zone. It is the current attack on liberty and freedom that should dominate American conversation. Of course, we are instead more interested in calling each other names and putting each other down instead of coming up with workable ideas and solutions. Bravo

10:29AM PST on Jan 20, 2012

Damn NAZI pigs. Death to all NAZIs

3:52AM PST on Jan 20, 2012

Has anyone read Manufacturing Consent, they've been censoring what we know for the last century.

2:22AM PST on Dec 12, 2011

Thanks.

8:04AM PST on Dec 5, 2011

Any journalist who is covering a news story and experiences interference or arrest should immediately file suit against the governing body of the city where they are working. It would be a just cause!

8:34PM PST on Dec 3, 2011

the media doesn't like to talk about causes it isn't sympathetic to...ignore it and it will go away.

8:02PM PST on Dec 3, 2011

thanks

7:30PM PST on Dec 3, 2011

Mike C.......I don't know what you are saying in any of your posts. You don't make sense.

Our rights as US citizens are at stake here. This is serious business, and we have the right to protest our government, which is supposed to represent us, not shoot at us for demanding our rights! We are citizens OF THE UNITED STATES of AMERICA and we are allowed to speak freely, and journalists are supposed to be allowed to report the truth of what is going on! The terrorists are the police, and our own government, as things stand, protecting the offenders and hiding truth.

7:25PM PST on Dec 3, 2011

Unfortunately, due to the fact that most large media companies are owned by the people OWS is protesting, the reporting on this has already been skewed/muffled. The fact that someone somewhere feels the need to continue to test the limits of authority to contain the press is truly disturbing. Who is this afraid of word getting out, and what/why don't they want us to know?

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