'Times' and 12 other news organizations write another letter to the NYPD, calling for answers in police treatment of the press
12:23 pm Feb. 1, 2012
The New York Times fired off another letter to the Police Department today on behalf of 13 New York-based news organizations about police treatment of the press over the last several months.
The first letter, sent back in November during the height of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, resulted in a meeting with NYPD brass and "stepped up" efforts on the part of the department's public information office to train officers in working with the media.
But in today's letter, a copy of which was obtained by Capital, the news organizations, which also include the New York Post, Daily News, Associated Press, Reuters, Dow Jones, Bloomberg News, the National Press Photographers Association, several local TV affiliates and others, say problems have persisted.
"There have been other reports of police officers using a variety of tactics ranging from inappropriate orders directed at some joumalists to physical interference with others, who were covering newsworthy sites and events," the letter reads. "Indeed, as recently as this Monday it was reported ... that at another OWS demonstration, police 'officers blocked the lens of a newspaper photographer attempting to document the arrests.'"
The news organizations are now asking the NYPD to issue written responses to individual incidents in which journalists were mistreated by police, and to confirm whether any officers have been disciplined for incidents "involving altercations with the press." They also ask the department to provide specific information about its media relations training procedures, some aspects of which an NYPD press officer described in an interview with Capital back in December.
"While these requests may appear overly burdensome, we believe they are necessary for the significant improvement of police-press relations -- moving from the issuance of policy statements to tangible improvements on the streets," the letter concludes. "Such progress is essential in order to bring about meaningful press access and genuine cooperation, thus allowing us to fulfill our constitutional role of reporting on public events. Please do not underestimate our resolve in working to rectify these concerns."
Click here or on the photo above to read the full text of the letter.