November 21st, 2011 by Alicia Calzada and tagged Access, first amendment, journalism school, national press photographers association, news industry, NPPA, photographers, photography, photojournalism, police, police relations, video
New York – The National Press Photographers Association was joined by several media organizations and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the PressÂ in a letter to the NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information, Paul J. Browne, to protest police mistreatment of the the media during the Occupy Wall Street protests last week. The strongly worded letter drafted by NPPA general Counsel Mickey H. Osterreicher along with New York Times vice president and assistant generalÂ counsel, George Freeman, pointed out that “credentialed media were identified, segregated and kept away from viewing, reporting on and photographing vital matters of public concern. A press pen was set up blocks away and those kept there were further prevented from seeing what was occurring by the strategic placement of police buses around the perimeter. Moreover, there have been numerous instances where police officers struck or otherwise intentionally impeded photographers as they were taking photos, keeping them from doing their job and from documenting instances of seeming police aggression.”
The letter outlines several specific incidents in which members of the media were physically assaulted by police. It also describes how members of the media were ordered to leave public areas, stripped of their credentials, threatened with arrest, detained and arrested.
During an August 2011Â meeting Browne hadÂ promised to review previous media complaints regardingÂ other incidents involving police interference with the media and his agreement to considerÂ additional training to reinforce media guidelines, for newer officers on the force.Â Browne had agreed at the time that additional training for officers would be beneficial. The media representatives who authored the letter expressed their beliefÂ “that had such agreed upon training occurred, it may have helped avoid the numerous inappropriate, if not unconstitutional, actions and abuses the police heaped upon both credentialed and non-credentialed journalists in the last few days.”
A companion letterÂ was sent by the New York Civil Liberties Union to New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg making similar complaints. Both groups have asked for a meeting withÂ the police in order to address these issues.
Read the complete letter here:DCPI Letter – Signed 11-21-11
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