The National Association of Hispanic Journalists stands in solidarity with the National Association of Black Journalists in vehemently condemning the oppression of news media that took place in Ferguson, Missouri on Wednesday, in response to last week’s police shooting of unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown.
Multiple local and national TV news organizations reported that police in Ferguson told them to leave areas in which law enforcement was shutting down peaceful, public protests. The police also reportedly assaulted and arrested both Huffington Post reporter Ryan J. Reilly and Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery, who is also an NABJ member. All of this amounts to an attempt at a news blackout, a censorship of the free press.
Also Ryan Reilly of Huff Po. Assaulted and arrested
— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 14, 2014
We saw multiple internet broadcast live streams from citizens on the ground, filming the scene from their smartphones while police told the public to stop filming. All of these police actions — whether telling reporters that they can’t do their job or telling the public that they can’t document what’s going on — flies in the face of our constitutional rights as Americans. This is unacceptable and as journalists and Americans, we deserve better.
“The constitution protects journalists to do their job without government or police interference,” said Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ President. “This is unacceptable and as journalists and Americans, we deserve better. NAHJ stands with NABJ is calling authorities to investigate what appears to be first amendment violations and hold accountable officers involved in the incident.”