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OpEdNews Reporter Arrested While Photographing Protest

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Headlined to H3 9/14/09

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Call the mayor of Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter.

Call the Philadelphia District Attorney's office. It is a frightening situation when the press can't cover arrests of peaceful protesters when they are turned into political prisoners. The police should be disciplined for their actions.


Considering Freedom of the Press
Shortly before the arrests began, the police announced that they would be making arrests if people did not leave. A crew from PBS's Frontline left the area immediately. This made it impossible for them to document the police making the arrests. To my knowledge, Biren was the only member of the press who lingered, with a large crowd, who stayed to document the arrests. This is an essential role for the media-- one which the mainstream media on-site chose not to pursue.

The police could have arrested dozens of additional people who were standing next to or very near Biren. All of those people were acting in a very different way from the protesters in the area where arrests were taking place. They were simply observing the arrests. The way Biren was pulled from the crowd and moved to the area where the arrests were being made suggests that the police wanted to "place" her.

The fact that no other observers were arrested, that instead they were "managed" by the some 80 police at the mall, suggests that this was an intentional selective effort to muzzle the press. Shame on the city of Philadelphia. Shame on the District Attorney's office for allowing charges of "criminal conspiracy" to be lodged against a journalist doing her job, defending democracy and our constitutional rights. If all the people in the vicinity Biren was in had been arrested, there might be a defense for the police-- that all of them had refused to disperse when instructed. But The police had multiple opportunities to arrest others and failed to.

Biren reports that the officer who actually grabbed her acted angrily-- in a scene where there was no need for anger. This was a peaceful demonstration where the organizers were in friendly communication with the police Civil affairs department that was handling the event. Something went wrong here. There should be an investigation. The press is an endangered entity in the US. The big Philly newspapers are in bankruptcy. The police have a responsibility to the constitution NOT to abuse their powers when facing the fourth estate.


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Rob Kall is editor-in-chief, publisher and site architect of OpEdNews.com, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor. He hosts the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, aired in the Metro Philly area on AM 1360, WNJC. Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

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Rob is, with Opednews.com the first media winner of the Pillar Award for supporting Whistleblowers and the first amendment.

See more Rob Kall articles here and, older ones, here. To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..  and here's an article on the Storycon Summit Meeting he founded and organized for eight years. Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table

Here is a one hour radio interview where Rob was a guest- on Envision This, and here is the transcript. 

To watch Rob having a lively conversation with John Conyers, then Chair of the House Judiciary committee, click hereWatch Rob speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit, here.

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How is it that we regard video games that make pla... by Richmond Shreve on Monday, Sep 14, 2009 at 3:11:47 PM
If you look back at empires of the past, this is h... by John Little on Monday, Sep 14, 2009 at 6:33:50 PM
I think by now we all know just how much the polic... by Mr. Moderate on Monday, Sep 14, 2009 at 6:47:22 PM
If nothing has been left out of Mr. Kall's account... by Robert Arend on Monday, Sep 14, 2009 at 6:57:33 PM
This administration is putting the final touches o... by ronheri on Monday, Sep 14, 2009 at 7:42:04 PM
I knew trespassing was a crock, but apparently nob... by Dave Kisor on Monday, Sep 14, 2009 at 7:43:41 PM
you advocate strongly for a particular position, a... by sommers on Monday, Sep 14, 2009 at 10:20:47 PM
They don't go after big media because they have th... by Gallaher on Monday, Sep 14, 2009 at 10:29:01 PM
I know it is called a "1983 action" that can be fi... by Gallaher on Monday, Sep 14, 2009 at 10:31:02 PM
Sounds like a false arrest and wrongful imprission... by Sleeper on Tuesday, Sep 15, 2009 at 1:40:59 AM
I didn't realize that taking pictures as a member ... by Archie on Monday, Sep 14, 2009 at 11:21:31 PM
If she'd been carrying a gun instead of a camera, ... by wagelaborer on Tuesday, Sep 15, 2009 at 1:17:36 AM
Buy and always have with you a pocket video camera... by plausible deniability on Wednesday, Sep 16, 2009 at 9:09:02 AM