Tuesday Dec 13, 201103:17 AM GMT
OWS: NYPD blocks journalists from covering protest
Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:19AM
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Tensions between the NYPD and journalists continued to run high on Monday as police officers forcefully prevented New York Times photographer Robert Stolarik from taking pictures of Occupy Wall Street arrests.

 

Stolarik was covering the protests at the World Financial Center when police blocked him from getting shots of people being arrested. One police officer shoved Stolarik when ordering him off the stairs, and another pushed him back with a baton.

 

The aggression set off a testy exchange between the police and Stolarik, who took down one officer's badge number. He later told the Village Voice that he had identified himself as a member of the press to the police, and had his press pass out. "It was clearly visible and he was very aware," he said.

 

Stolarik's scuffle is the one of the latest in the ongoing showdown between the police and journalists covering Occupy Wall Street. The crackdown began in November when police arrested or acted violently towards journalists in a surprise raid on Zuccotti Park, and again days later.

 

Since then, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has warned police officers against intentionally blocking journalists from photographing news in public places.

 

The New York Times is also one of several news organizations that recently wrote to city officials complaining about police mistreatment of journalists. Huffington Post

 

FACTS & FIGURES

 

In the dark hours of Tuesday, November 15, the NYPD orchestrated a raid on the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park on the orders of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Journalists soon began reporting on Twitter that they were being 'prevented from reporting about the police’s actions - and next, reports emerged of police harassment, abuse and even arrests. Ten journalists, some from the NPR, the Associated Press and the New York Daily News, were arrested. One journalist from the New York Post was put in a choke hold. care2.com

 

Many 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. care2.com

 

On December 1, 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 U.S. mayors to protect First Amendment rights and to protect journalists covering the Occupy movement. savethenews.org

 

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.

 

SM/KA

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