According to SaveTheNews.org, working with FreePress.net, as of Feb. 2, NYPD has arrested at least 20 journalists attempting to cover Occupy Wall Street events. Many of them had press credentials on their person… to no avail. Have the arresting officers been disciplined? Yes… well, two of them were.
Nationwide, according to an email from these two organizations, more than 50 credentialed journalists have been arrested by police at Occupy events in a number of cities. As insane as it may seem, some journalists still face charges.
Reporters Without Borders now ranks the US as number 47 in its global press freedom index; that’s on a scale on which the best nations (Finland and Norway tie for the top spot) receive scores less than zero. America dropped to 47 from 20 in 2010. Now our press freedom is worse than that of South Korea and Taiwan, dramatically worse than the UK (didn’t we break away from them a couple of centuries ago to achieve, among other things, freedom of the press?), Canada… I could list all morning, or you could just read the rankings yourself. The United States dropped 27 points in one year.
If matters are to improve, we must put pressure on the police departments in large cities to train their officers in basic First Amendment law… and discipline officers who break it. (Some already have classes. Sometimes they even have an effect.) Otherwise, we may find ourselves down there with North Korea and Eritrea… at the bottom of the list. How devastating that would be!
AFTERTHOUGHT: it’s not just Occupy events. SaveTheNews (link above) notes that “Gasland documentary filmmaker Josh Fox was arrested inside the U.S. House while trying to cover a federal hearing.” The goddamned congressional Republicans don’t want anyone to know what they’re up to!
UPDATE: Sam Seder interviews Josh Fox. (YouTube)