Big Trouble in St. Paul over Journalist Arrests

Journalists and St. Paul citizens assembled outside St. Paul City Hall today to deliver more than 60,000 letters to Mayor Chris Coleman and prosecuting attorneys demanding that they immediately drop charges against all journalists arrested this week as they covered the Republican National Convention

By Friday morning, dozens of journalists, photographers, bloggers and videomakers had been booked by the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office in what appears to have been an orchestrated round-up of media makers covering protests during the convention.

In St. Paul this week, a new generation of media makers is under assault by the city’s mayor and law enforcement officers. ¬†These local officials think freedom of the press extends only to their allies in mainstream media. ¬†

For the rest of us, practicing journalism is a crime.

“From the pre-convention raids to the ongoing harassment and arrests of journalists, these have been dark days for press freedom in the United States,” said Nancy Doyle Brown of the Twin Cities Media Alliance, who delivered the letters on behalf of the nonpartisan media reform group Free Press.

Stories That Will Never Be Told

She was joined by a crowd of local activists and journalists, including Amy Goodman and Nicole Salazar of Democracy Now!, KFAI-FM radio host Andy Driscoll and Mike Bucsko, executive director of the Minnesota Newspaper Guild.

“Tragically, there are stories that the world needed to hear this week that will never be told,” Brown said. “They won’t be told because reporters working on them were sitting in the back of squad cars, were stripped of their cameras, or were face down on the pavement with their hands cuffed behind their backs.”

Continue reading