Despite calls from the President of the United States, the U.S. Attorney General and the Governor of Missouri to allow journalists to do their jobs, despite a signed agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri not to interfere with legitimate newsgathering, and despite repeated promises to allow reporters and their cameras access, law enforcement agencies in Missouri are still harassing, threatening and arresting journalists in Ferguson, Missouri. In a statement, RTDNA Chairman Chris Carl told journalists working to cover the story that the organization stands behind them:
"To the journalists who are covering the continued crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, RTDNA admires your efforts to chronicle the volatile situation, and we stand behind you. RTDNA is doing everything we can to ensure you are not being denied access and your First Amendment rights are protected. On behalf of the RTDNA Board of Directors and members, please stay safe as you bring this important national story home to your readers, listeners and viewers."
"The police cannot continue to say one thing and do another," added RTDNA Executive Director Mike Cavender. "Everyone recognizes the difficult job they are doing, but their focus should be on investigating the shooting that sparked the protests and apprehending those who are responsible for violent actions, not impeding those who are keeping the public informed about the situation."
RTDNA sent a letter to Ferguson's police chief on August 13 and another on August 14, condemning the treatment of journalists by police. And on August 15, RTDNA joined a growing chorus of journalism organizations calling on police to respect the rights of journalists covering the story. The Association continues to urge law enforcement agencies in Missouri to listen to the President, the Attorney General and the many journalism organizations who have addressed this issue, live up to their promises and stop interfering with journalists.
RTDNA's Breaking News Guidelines
Poynter's Jill Geisler on Breaking News