NYPD Media Blackout on Occupy Wall Street Pits Bloomberg Against the Citizenship

via the Guardian:

As police swooped on the park in the early hours of Tuesday, the city closed airspace in lower Manhattan to prevent news helicopters taking aerial shots of the scene. Vans were used to obscure views of the park and a police cordon effectively blocked accredited media from reaching the site. Some of those members of the press who were in the park or were able to get there say they were arrested, pepper sprayed or treated aggressively.

One of the few reporters on the scene when the police moved in was Josh Harkinson, a writer for Mother Jones magazine. As police used tear gas to remove the last protesters from the park Harkinson identified himself as a member of the media and was physically dragged out of the park. He was told that reporters had to stay in a “press pen”.

The imposition of a media blackout is not merely an infringement on the rights of individual journalists or even on the right of demonstrators to make their case known.  It’s an infringement on the right of all US citizens to media access.  This decision pits Bloomberg against the US citizenship itself. Municipal governments continue to up the ante in their disregard for fundamental civil and political rights that are enshrined in the Constitution and in international principles of law.  I’m deeply troubled that foreign friends have remarked to me that they don’t recognize the images and videos of police force they are seeing as something that takes place in America.

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