The Summer 2012 issue of The News Media & The Law features information for reporters and photographers covering the major political conventions this summer, including what to do if arrested while covering a protest or other event.
The quarterly magazine of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press looks at the history of press-police clashes at the quadrennial conventions, offers advice for journalists covering this year’s events, and reminds readers of the local hotlines set up in Tampa and Charlotte.
Hotline connections and convention information also can be downloaded with the Reporters Committee First Aid mobile app.
“One of the more frustrating issues to advise journalists on is how to handle interactions with police at protests and other emergencies,” wrote Reporters Committee Interim Executive Director Gregg P. Leslie in his column. “The problem is that the legal issue is simple, but the application of it is anything but.”
Among Leslie’s advice: “avoid making a tense situation worse, and don’t interfere with police…. If an officer has decided to detain you, remain calm and state your case quietly when there’s a chance. Act professional, to make clear you’re not an activist trying to get arrested for civil disobedience. Try to talk to the officer’s superior…. And be sure to get in touch with our hotline as soon as possible, so our attorneys can help you.”
Articles examining the open-government policies of presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and what can be gleaned from reviewing the police and press operations at the NATO summit in Chicago last spring.
Also in the magazine are its regular features on developments in newsgathering, confidentiality, content regulation, libel and freedom of information.
About the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Founded in 1970, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offers free legal support to thousands of working journalists and media lawyers each year. It is a leader in the fight against persistent efforts by government officials to impede the release of public information, whether by withholding documents or threatening reporters with jail. In addition to its 24/7 Legal Defense Hotline, the Reporters Committee conducts cutting-edge legal research, publishes handbooks and guides on media law issues, files frequent friend-of-the-court legal briefs and offers challenging fellowships and internships for young lawyers and journalists. For more information, go to www.rcfp.org, or follow us on Twitter @rcfp.
Related Reporters Committee resources: