Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Guild objects to arrest of reporters

The Guild has sent the letter below to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and Police Chief Howard Jordan to object to the arrests of six journalists during Saturday's Occupy Protests. The Guild is not alone in protesting these arrests. It has been joined by NABET, which represents TV and radio workers, and the Society for Professional Journalists. All parties want a meeting with Mayor Quan. Here is the text of the letter:
    Dear Mayor Quan and Chief Jordan: 
    We write to object, once again, to unacceptable interference with journalists covering Occupy Oakland protests and resulting law enforcement. 
    On Saturday, at least six credentialed journalists were detained and/ or arrested while covering Occupy Oakland protests. They included representatives of the San Francisco Chronicle, KGO radio news, the Guardian (U.K.), East Bay Express, Mother Jones magazine, and the SF Bay Guardian. Despite repeatedly identifying themselves as members of the media, two were jailed.
    Some wore official Oakland Police Department press credentials; others were carrying credentials from the San Francisco Police Department or from their assigning publications or broadcast outlets, a customary practice among working journalists. 
    Although several journalists were released quickly on the scene, others were held for long periods of time, making it impossible for them to do their jobs. Numerous reports from the scene document officers ignoring reporters presenting their press credentials and admonishing them for not following orders to disperse. 
    This despite the OPD's own guidelines, which stated, "Even after a dispersal order has been given, clearly identified media shall be permitted to carry out their professional duties in any area where arrests are being made unless their presence would unduly interfere with the enforcement action." 
    Earlier this fall, many of us individually and collectively contacted the city to ask for a response to reports that plainly credentialed journalists had been detained and in some cases jailed covering Occupy protests. In another incident, police grabbed at a camera belonging to an Oakland Tribune photojournalist, breaking off the flash and throwing it to the ground.
    Freedom of the press is key to our democracy and must be vigorously defended. Arrests of journalists and other police interference with reporters and photographers cannot be tolerated. 
    We therefore request a meeting with city and police department leaders to discuss the immediate formation of a training and monitoring program to ensure that police no longer detain, harass, or otherwise block journalists from doing their jobs by reporting breaking news in the city of Oakland. 
    If you have questions about this request, please let us know. 
    Bernie Lunzer President The Newspaper Guild-CWA 202-434-7175 
    Jim Joyce President The National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET-CWA) 
    Liz Enochs President Northern California chapter Society of Professional Journalists 
    Kevin Wilson President NABET-CWA Local 51 San Francisco 
    Carl Hall Executive officer Pacific Media Workers Guild San Francisco 
    Rebecca Rosen Lum Chair, Guild Freelancers unit Pacific Media Workers Guild San Francisco


Anonymous said...

How come the arrest of reporters isn't page 1 news in the Chronicle? How come it isn't on the 10 or 11 o'clock news? Where is Ronn Owens or Michael Krasny? This is fucking outrageous -- and nobody in the mainstream media in SF is talking about it;

Anonymous said...

This is not news. Those so-called reporters or so-called news organizations are accessories to the crime and mayhem. Send them to a credible university to learn something about civics and journalism and then try again.

steveo said...

If you don't like the way things are going, do something about it. Support candidates like Ron Paul. By ignoring great candidates like Paul we will all get what we deserve!