Press Suppression and Journalist Arrests at the RNC and DNC
As politicians, press, protesters and police converge on the RNC and DNC we'll be monitoring and working to verify reports of press suppression and journalist arrests. Check back as we confirm reports and update regularly.
The Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida: August 27-30
1) African American videographer for CNN is heckled and has nuts thrown at her on the floor of the RNC. (Aug 28)
- Talking Points Memo broke the story on August 28 and has confirmed the incident with CNN. Those involved with the harassment were escorted from the RNC. The report orriginated from David Shuster who tweeted: “GOP attendee ejected for throwing nuts at African American CNN camera woman + saying ‘This is how we feed animals.’”
2) Journalists from Houston Free Thinkers radio and video teams were detained briefly by the Department of Homeland Security. (Aug 28th)
- Houston Free Thinkers describe themselves as "an open source, crowd sourced community group that provides articles that not only highlight what you’re NOT being told by the Mainstream Media But also provide solutions you can pursue in your own life" and run a livestream and radio program. Members were detained while recording footage of the policy and Homeland security presence in Tampa.
- See also this second video the crew recorded during the detainment: youtu.be/fTMkPeo2NQk. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, who was herself arrested at the last RNC in 2008, interviewed the Houston Free Thinkers.
3) A Democracy Now! cameraman had his camera seized and thrown to the ground and a senior Democracy Now! producer is shoved by the daughter of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.
4) WMNF journalist Liz McKibbon denied entry to Citizen's United film on the Occupy movement.
- The Digital Media Law Project at Harvard University released a brief statement at the end of the RNC which is a fair assessment of police and press (and public) interactions in the city.
- We are happy to report that – despite an overwhelming police presence and scattered reports of police intimidation – the major events surrounding the RNC have concluded without any arrests of journalists, and only two (or possibly three) arrests of other members of the public. It is very important to note, however, that at several points throughout the week the actions of some protesters gave grounds for arrest, but the Tampa Police exercised their discretion and allowed the demonstrations to continue. We applaud the City of Tampa for acting so thoughtfully during the RNC and hope that the police in Charlotte will adopt a similar strategy. Nevertheless, journalists preparing to travel to the DNC should be aware that the City of Charlotte may decide to respond differently when facing similar situations.
The Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina: Sept 4-6
1) In Charlotte, as in many places with national security events, coordinators created special free speech zones which were largely ignored or treated with hostility by protesters.
2) Journalists Kevin Gosztola and Steve Horn were confronted and harrassed, including being asked to delete photos on their phones, after they followed undercover police at a rally and march regarding immigrant rights.
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