The rampant arrests and abuse of journalists at various Occupy sites in the United States persuaded Reporters without Borders to drop the United States 20 places, from 27th to 47th in its international rankings on press freedom. Despite our First Amendment, this means the United States is now tied with Argentina.
The right-leaning American Spectator took exception to RWP’s decision to demote the U.S. so far down the list. “The problem with this line of reasoning is the implication that authorities knowingly and deliberately arrested journalists,” the article said.
Yet today we learn that the police in Oakland, California, have detained 20 journalists during yesterday’s crackdown on Occupy Oakland. Josh Stearns of Save the News has assembled tweets from some of the reporters taken into custody during yesterday’s police action.Susie Cagle, one of the first journalists arrested had also been arrested last fall.
I was shoved several times & then arrested while wearing my OPD press pass – which expired end of 2011. #OO #j28
Stearns notes that the Oakland Police Department policies clearly say that journalists’ rights should be respected. Yet the detention of the press continues, despite the black eye this gives the United States in the eyes of the world, where our First Amendment is cited as a beacon of press freedom.