Wednesday, March 8, 2017

2011/2012: Cops vs journalists covering Occupy Wall Street movement

HARASSMENT OF JOURNALISTS COVERING OCCUPY: A citizen journalist with a video camera taped himself apparently getting shot by police rubber bullet while covering a seemingly peaceful moment during Occupy Oakland (CA) protests.  At Occupy Nashville, a reporter for the long-established weekly Nashville Scene was arrested for violating a curfew imposed by Tennessee's governor (a night judge questioned whether that's legal), was threatened with a "resisting arrest" charge, and was ultimately charged with "public intoxication." Nashville's big daily reported on the dubious arrest.

Between Sept 2011 and Sept 2012, more than 90 journalists (both independent and mainstream) were arrested while covering Occupy protests in the U.S. Removing journalists and citizen journalists from the scene seemed to be a strategy because acts of police brutality -- when recorded by citizen journalists and ubiquitous cameras & cell phones -- led to more sympathy and activists for the movement: for example, in NY City and at University of California, Davis. Like in the 1960s, the federal government built a large surveillance apparatus to spy on Occupy activists. 

And the surveillance of social movements continues into the present

"THE MAYOR'S AFRAID OF YOU TUBE": In October 2011, hours after New York City authorities made a last-minute decision NOT to clear protesters from the original Occupy Wall Street site in Lower Manhattan, filmmaker Michael Moore said this to MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell (begin 2:54 for context): 
"One cop down there actually today. I asked...'Why don't you think the eviction happened?' And he said, 'Cause the Mayor's afraid of You Tube.'...The power of the new media, the media that's in the hands of the people -- that those in charge are afraid of what could possibly go out."

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