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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Journalists send second letter protesting New York police's treatment of reporters covering Occupy protests



Still frustrated with the New York City Police Department's treatment of reporters covering the Occupy Wall Street protests, a group of journalists and media organizations sent a second letter to police, demanding "more steps to resolve reporter access issues," according to the Associated Press (AP).

“A number of press entities feel that more needs to be done if we are to resolve these issues in an amicable manner,” said the letter, signed by representatives of the AP, The New York Times, WCBS-TV, the National Press Photographers Association, the Daily News, Thomson Reuters, WABC-TV, NBC Universal, WNBC-TV, the New York Press Photographers Association, Dow Jones, Bloomberg News, the New York Press Club, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “Please do not underestimate our resolve in working to rectify these concerns.”

An earlier letter of complaint, sent in November, argued that "the NYPD is aggressively blocking journalists from doing their constitutionally protected work and in some instances is even targeting journalists for mistreatment." In response to the letter, an internal memo sent to police ordered them not to interfere with journalists covering the protests, adding that any violators would be subject to disciplinary action.

After the second letter, sent Wednesday, Feb. 1, the NYPD responded with a letter outlining the steps it had taken "to train officers on media access issues," saying that one officer and a sergeant had been "reprimanded" for two incidents; another incident was investigated but no one was reprimanded, and in a fourth incident, officers could not be identified, the AP reported. Details were not provided on the complaints.

The letter sent to the NYPD comes after more journalists were arrested while covering the Occupy protests in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, Jan. 28. The crackdown on reporters covering the Occupy Movement was responsible for knocking the United States' press freedom ranking down 27 spots to no. 47 on Reporters Without Borders' 2011-2012 Press Freedom Index.



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