NNA joins group, asks AG to review media relations

October 17, 2014

WASHINGTON—The National Newspaper Association in September joined dozens of other journalism groups to ask U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to review police handling of media relations in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.
Holder and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are reviewing police activities during the Ferguson incident.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and others asked the investigation to include press policies, saying the news media must be allowed to cover such newsworthy incidents without fear of detention or harassment.
RCFP said it had reports of numerous problems.
“Two journalists were detained while doing nothing more than charging their phones in a local McDonald’s … (and) one reporter was shot with rubber bullets while others had guns reported pointed directly at them,” the journalists’ groups told Holder.
Holder announced Sept. 4 that his department would review whether the police had used racial profiling or had a pattern of using excessive force. He also said his department would enter into a collaborative effort with the St. Louis County Police Department to conduct training for law enforcement in Ferguson.
The RCFP journalists’ coalition said it believed future unfortunate incidents could be avoided if training emphasized the First Amendment right to gather and report the news.

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