During the course of the repression of the Occupy movement in many American cities, police forces made a conscious attempt to restrict press coverage of events. As a result, in the Press Freedom ranking done annually by RWB, the United States moved from position 20 in 2010 to position 47 at the end of 2011.
But don’t blame the average cop on the streets. The fault here resides with the political authorities who set policy, sometimes explicitly, sometimes implicitly. NYC mayor Bloomberg is a typical example. When a political leader set the rules of engagement clearly and concisely, law enforcement follows those rules. But ambiguous leadership sends confusing signals to the men on the ground and then instincts take over.
One link in this article – meet with journalists – points out at the cumbersome process for getting press credentials from the NYPD. The reporter describes it as Kafkaesque – a sort of senseless catch-22 maze. We also read of some newspapers self-censoring with both the N.Y. Post and Daily News praising the NYPD treatment of the Occupy protesters while their own reporters were arrested and mistreated.
When we have a press freedom ranking lower than Namibia, El Salvador, and Mali, and then we add NDAA section 1021, and SOPA/PIPA, it all indicates that that there is an ever increasing disregard for the Bill of Rights among some of the power elite.