Reporters Without Borders has urged authorities to not resort to more repressive measures against reporters covering the Occupy Wall Street movement that will expand Satruday when major worldwide demonstrations are planned. The organization says various tactics, including physical injury and through the Internet, are being used to target reporters and that this is censorship that is unacceptable.
“Reporters Without Borders urges the authorities not to resort to repressive methods, which constitute acts of censorship,” the organization stated Thursday in a written statement.
“Many journalists have found themselves being prevented from covering the movement’s activities ever since it began on 17 September. Ordinary citizens, bloggers and netizens who provide information through online social networks have also been affected by this obstruction. More seriously, the New York Police Department treats a person as a journalist only if they have a press card that the NYPD itself issues according to its own criteria.”
- A Fox5 TV crew was attacked by police while covering an Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York on 5 October. Cameraman Roy Isen received pepper spray in his eyes while reporter Dick Brennan was hit in the stomach by a police baton. A police statement said the two journalists were “inadvertently” struck when police resisted a charge by protesters.
- Natasha Lennard, a freelance journalist and contributor to a New York Times blog, was held for five hours in a police truck on 1 October because she did not have an NYPD press card. She was arrested along with 700 people during the Occupy Wall Street march across the Brooklyn Bridge. Kristen Gwynne of the AlterNet web-magazine suffered the same fate at the same place on the same day.
- John Farley, a journalist with the magazine MetroFocus, was arrested while covering an Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York on 24 September despite wearing a badge identifying him as a reporter. He was held for eight hours.
Over the past two weeks, this reporter was delayed both in an airport where she experienced the TSA “grope” and even at the Chicago’s Union Station before taking a train where she was singled out and had her belongings swiped.