Occupy Christmas

International Day of Action – December 25

New York – Press Black Out – Park Cleared

Posted by troublemaker on November 15, 2011

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America (1)

This post is not about the clearing of New York’s Zuccotti Park.  This post is not about Occupy Wall Street.  Chances are you have already seen photos and video.  Chances are you have already read the accounts.  This post is about how you have been able to see whose photos and video.  This post is about how you can be reading about the clearing of Zuccotti Park in the wee hours of Tuesday morning (11/15/2011).   While a significant step in the expansion of the Occupy and 99% movement, the actual clearing of the park is not nearly as important as how you are finding out about it.  You see your freedom of speech and right to peacefully assemble is not the only thing under attack.  Freedom of the Press is under attack.

When police moved to clear New York’s Zuccotti Park early Tuesday morning, many protesters called to the local news services to report what was happening.  CBS News desk reportedly told several callers that they had been ordered out of the area.  In fact, many have now claimed CBS News Helicopter was ordered by New York Police Department to clear the air space.

“At least eight reporters and photographers have been detained while covering the protests, including journalists who were clearly identified as members of the working press.” – OSCE Media Freedom Representative

That quote comes from a press release from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

 “Violating one reporter’s right affects all citizens. It is time for local officials to demand that their law enforcement agencies respect the rights and duties of media in covering public issues.” – Dunja Mijatović, OSCE representative (1)

Fox News indicated that among the first tents to be raided in Zuccotti Park was Occupy Wall Street’s live video feed and news center(3).  Fox News also reports that reporters were not allowed to cover, photograph, or video tape the eviction from within the park or even the area around the park.(3)

“The area around the park was sealed off and journalists were prevented from entering.” – Fox News (3)

Rosie Gray, a writer for The Village Voice, recounted telling a police officer, “I’m press!” She said the officer responded, “Not tonight.”(4)

 When police “seal off” an area, refuse entrance to journalists, order news helicopters from the area, seize cameras, and arrest credentialed members of the working press one is left to wonder how it could be that you are reading about the protest at all.  Because there are more of us (99%) than them (1%).  Because enough of us are no longer afraid to speak up, to share our thoughts, our ideas, and our own reports.

Because the Internet, assisted by smart phones, live streams, and cell phones has made each and every person a potential source of news and commentary.  So while the 1% might try their damnedest to shut up the 99%, they will not succeed.  Why?  Because there are just too many voices to be silenced.

Just like the Human Microphone used at Occupy protests, the voices of those who have seen these actions will repeat the news over and over and over again.

1) Wikipedia on the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

2) Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

3) Fox News

4) Daily Kos


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