From: Josh Stearns, FreePress.net <email@example.com>
Sent: November 15, 2011 4:21 PM
To: Daniel A. Stafford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Occupy Crackdown Targets Journalists
Mayors: Protect Press Freedom in Your Cities.
This morning, the New York Police Department forcibly evacuated Zuccotti Park, home of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The move provoked a clash not only with protesters but with the press. In what appears to have been a coordinated effort to block coverage of the raid, the police blocked many journalists from reporting on the police action.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the police kept the media away "to prevent a situation from getting worse and to protect members of the press."
But according to the New York Times, one journalist told a police officer "I'm press!" and the officer just responded "Not tonight."
If the mayor of our country's largest city thinks protecting the press means silencing them, we're in big trouble. And he's not alone. Police harassment of the media has been reported during "Occupy" protests in Chicago, Denver, Oakland, Portland and beyond. It's time to tell mayors across the country to uphold our press freedoms.
Tell Mayor Bloomberg and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to publicly commit to upholding the First Amendment and let journalists do their jobs.
The NYPD is using more than words to fight journalists. This morning, five reporters were arrested, another was put in a choke hold, and others were subjected to police harassment. Journalists are being swept up in ongoing police actions happening right now in New York City.
In fact, since the birth of the Occupy Wall Street movement two months ago, 18 journalists have been arrested2, 3 and countless others have been roughed up, tear-gassed and pepper sprayed. There have even been reports of police using high-powered strobe lights to disable video cameras and stop people from recording their actions.
Demand that all U.S. mayors publicly commit to protecting freedom of the press.
Please sign this action and we will deliver your letter to Mayor Bloomberg and the Conference of Mayors and demand that they make this crucial commitment to upholding the First Amendment.
The freedom of our press is fundamental to our identity as Americans. As elected representatives charged with serving the people, our mayors must rein in these aggressive and violent tactics by local law enforcement.
Please take action right now.
Associate Program Director
1. Brian Stelter, "Reporters Say Police Denied Access to Protest Site," New York Times, Nov. 15, 2011: http://act2.freepress.net/go/7342?akid=3054.9916736.X1rZUk&t=7
2. See a list of all journalists arrested at Occupy events since September, plus related videos and articles. http://act2.freepress.net/go/7343?akid=3054.9916736.X1rZUk&t=9
3. See a statement from the Society of Professional Journalists condemning the arrests. http://act2.freepress.net/go/7344?akid=3054.9916736.X1rZUk&t=11
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