SAG-AFTRA, which represents broadcast journalists, issued a statement on Monday criticizing authorities in Ferguson, Mo., for arresting journalists as they covered ongoing protests over the police shooting of a black teenager.
Last week, the Washington Post's Wesley Lowery and Huffington Post's Ryan Reilly were among the reporters arrested as they were covering the scene. On Monday, Reilly reported that Getty Images photographer Scott Olson was arrested.
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 18, 2014
NBC News confirmed with Getty Images that Olson was arrested. When NBC News asked police why Olson was arrested, one of the officers reportedly responded, "He was supposed to keep moving, just as you're supposed to keep moving."
"SAG-AFTRA joins the rest of the journalism community in condemning the arrest and detention of reporters covering the events happening in Ferguson, Missouri," the union said in a statement. "As a union that represents broadcast journalists, including many local St. Louis broadcasters, we strongly support the rights of journalists not to be impeded in their efforts to report the news. Journalists have an obligation to report what is happening in their community, and the world. We ask that law enforcement in Ferguson permit journalists the freedom to do their jobs."
President Obama last week also criticized the arrest of reporters. "Here in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs and report to the American people on what they see on the ground," he said.
According to UK Guardian columnist Trevor Timm, authorities in Ferguson even signed a declaration pledging they wouldn't arrest journalists covering the protests unless they posed a threat to public safety or were impeding the ability of police to do their jobs.
— Trevor Timm (@trevortimm) August 18, 2014