Staff Editorial: NYC police violate press freedoms – The Daily Eastern News: Editorials

The tents are gone from Zuccotti Park in New York City as NewYork Police, dressed in riot gear, removed protesters from the parkfor a “cleaning.” Protesters have since been allowed back into thepark, but tents, tarps and sleeping bags are not allowed, as theyare viewed as “safety hazards.” Protesters are not even allowed tolie down.

The early-Tuesday-morning surprise sweep has become aneye-opener to our freedoms as Americans. Regardless of yourposition on the Occupy movement, many can agree that the protestershave been treated horribly and possibly unconstitutionally.

More concerning, the media coverage of the sweep is essentiallynonexistent. this is not because the media turned a blind eye orwere too lazy to cover the event, but because the police resortedto Drakonian measures to restrict journalists’ ability to report.As student journalists, and as members of a free society, the DailyEastern News is disappointed by the treatment of the media duringthe event.

At least six reporters were arrested, and many more restrainedfrom covering the sweep. According to a report from amNew York,among those arrested were New York Daily News reporter MatthewLysiak, Julie Walkers, a freelance reporter for National PublicRadio, and reporter Karen Matthews and photographer Seth Wenig, whoboth work for the AP.

What coverage the media could deliver came mostly in the form ofpersonal accounts after the event. Journalists were threatened,physically and professionally, and silenced when they refused tocooperate with the suppression.

What this shows us is that complete suppression of the truth isnot possible. We have seen this demonstrated quite often throughoutthe Arab Spring. In Syria, Egypt, Lybia and Iran, journalists werecensored from reporting the facts in front of them. the images thatescaped these regimes’ oppressive tactics, and shocked the worldinto realizing the brutality of those situations, were thoserecorded by brave protesters on cell phones and reported onFacebook and Twitter.

We by no means equate the dictatorial actions of Arab regimes tothose of the NYC police. but we are deeply concerned when mediacensorship happens in this country. America must be the standard bywhich all other press freedoms are compared. We must be able tocondemn press censorship without having to hedge our words.

Staff Editorial: NYC police violate press freedoms – The Daily Eastern News: Editorials


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