Freedom Of The Press

Press

Al Jazeera America reporters fleeing tear gas thrown at them. Watch Video.

So the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

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 petitition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Just after the Constitution was ratified in 1789 the “founding fathers” thought it of primary concern to clarify the limits of power of the newly formed Government. The first amendment, which I assume was utmost on their minds was the fear that Government would mutate into some sort of “Police State” and deny it’s citizens the ability to hold Government accountable. Making a free press as well as the freedom of speech and to peaceably assemble and voice grievances not only necessary but vital. In every non-democratic form of “government” a free press and the right to voice one’s opinion is always highly restricted or criminalized.

It’s why seeing the images of the Al Jazeera America reporters being tear gassed and their equipment somewhat symbolically (they did not turn the light or camera off) pointed down toward the ground sent chills down my spine. I am not naive, this has been going on throughout America’s history to a limited extent especially in minority communities, but now it seems more blatant. The Ferguson Police even had the gall to create a no fly zone over the town so as to prevent News Helicopters from flying overhead.

police

Ferguson authorities need to be held accountable. The militarization of America’s police has to stop and the dignity of every person must be respected. The right of the Press or any citizen to document what is going on cannot be pushed aside when persons in authority feel inconvenienced or embarrassed. Security is no excuse for brutality.

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