Reporting on protests is no easy job—just ask the thirty-six reporters arrested while covering the Occupy movement, from New York to Boston to Nashville and beyond. Amid clashes between protesters and the police, the reporters ran afoul of the law. They went places where they weren’t supposed to go, and they did things they weren’t supposed to do. Or so claim the police.
OWS might not signal the high-water mark of press freedom, but it’s brought that freedom into sharp focus, through the prism of protest. What rights do reporters have to gather the news? Do they need credentials? Do reporters have the right in public places to record police activity? If a police officer unlawfully interferes with a reporter while she’s gathering the news, can the reporter sue the officer?