The Ferguson police has been orchestrating a media blackout.
It's been confirmed that reporters have been arrested and have been told to leave and were blocked from entering the city. These are huge assaults on freedom of the press. Additionally, the FAA no-fly zone imposed over the city prevented news helicopters from reporting. And, as usual in many protests around the country, police smashed protesters' cameras and phones (please add confirmation here if you have it).
There are also sources reporting that there was technical interception of broadcasts and social media, but this needs more confirmation. If you have more info please add it here!
Details of media suppression incidents
At ~2:15 of Video available at http://new.livestream.com/accounts/9035483/events/3271930 police seem to order shutdown of cameras. This tweet appears to be referencing same.
The local Fox 2 also tweeted they were asked to leave.
- We Act Radio reporter hit with teargas, bean bag - they claim they were targetted for being press
Police Threaten To Shoot, Mace Reporters In Ferguson - Huffington Post
2014-08-18 Police attempting to shutdown a live CNN broadcast - CNN reporter Don Lemon confronted by police while on the air
2014-08-18 Tear gas fired directly at journalists holding up media badges.
2014-08-19 Ryan Devereaux and Lukas Hermsmeier were shot with beanbags and rubber bullets with their hands in the air shouting "press!". The two were also arrested.
2014-08-20 Police say "Media, it's time to go home!". A photojournalist reports a line of police "strobing" him with a picture that shows bright lights being shown in the direction of the camera, causing it to flare out and obscure the subjects. A National Lawyer's Guild legal observer was arrested. The media was separated from the remaining protesters. Media was directed to the command center at Target and protesters were directed to the Free Speech Area. Further reports of wireless signals being blocked. [although to editorialize for a second, with the massive influx of reporters and their 4g-hungry devices, it's certainly possible the infrastructure is being overloaded -jden.] Photojournalist Alex Wroblewski was injured during the police action.
- ACLU of Missouri v St. Louis: Requesting the incident report relating to the shooting of Michael Brown. <div> </div>
- Hussein v St. Louis: Affirming the right to film the police amid rumors of a Media Blackout (this is in response to orders that people stop recording the police)
On 2014-08-15, Hussein, St. Louis County, Missouri Highway Patrol, and City of Ferguson signed an agreement stating that: "Parties acknowledge and agree that the media and members of the public have a right to record public events without abridgement unless it obstructs the activity or threatens the safety of others, or physically interferes with the ability of law enforcement officers to perform their duties." Here's the PDF of the agreement.
However, reporters were arrested on 8/18 as the media blackout continued.
Vox wrote "Intimidation of journalists is becoming routine in Ferguson" on Monday 2014-08-18.
Politico is reporting on continued verbal threats to the press from police officers.