This comes on the heels of repeated harassment of the press in past Occupy protests in numerous spots around the country, notably in Zuccotti Park on November 14 when the NYPD unexpectedly cleared out the epicenter of Occupy Wall Street. Overall, at least fifty journalists have been arrested covering the Occupy movement since it began last September.
Freedom of the press is under attack. The situation has gotten so bad that the United States recently plummeted twenty-seven notches in the Reporters Without Borders’ global press freedom index to number forty-seven worldwide in the wake of repeated crackdowns on journalists covering Occupy movements.
Over the next year there will be political conventions in North Carolina and Florida, global economic summits in Chicago and many more Occupy events coast to coast. Given the possibility of abuse of press rights at any of these events, it's important for all those concerned with a free and fair media's ability to function to take a stand now.
The good news is that journalists are starting to push back. A coalition of New York media groups has issued two letters calling on the NYPD to do more to protect the First Amendment. In Oakland, journalism organizations sent a letter condemning recent arrests and are calling for a meeting with city officials.
Our friends at Free Press, the tireless media reform outfit, have started a campaign to show support for press freedoms and help reporters assert their right to access. Sign on to support journalists who are fighting back for the First Amendment.