Tony J Bender: That’s Life — N.D.’s Warrant For Amy Goodman — A First Amendment Issue?

Yes, journalists can be arrested for trespass. However, when you single out reporters as an intimidation tactic — a warning shot — to try to suppress media coverage, that’s not even America, anymore.

Those cameras, following a huge evolving story in North Dakota near the Standing Rock Reservation, kept everyone on the scene safe with their presence. How would hired mercenaries act if not being videoed? I believe those cameras may have restrained parties from doing each other real harm.

Road Blocks … State of Emergency … National Guard … Attack Dogs … Arresting journalists … Inaccurate police reports … Inflammatory rhetoric from state officials … Road Rage in Bismarck against a Native American Family in Bismarck … The Face of North Dakota Today.

But we have Amy Goodman and Jill Stein off the streets, so I guess we’re all safe, now.

Below are key excerpts from the Bismarck Tribune story about Democracy Now! reporter Amy Goodman’s report.

Goodman was arrested at least once before on the job: at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, according to news reports. Goodman sued law enforcement and settled for $100,000.

“This is clearly a violation of the First Amendment … an attempt to repress this important political movement by silencing media coverage,” Baher Azmy, Center for Constitutional Rights.

“There were a lot of people at the protest site, and only two of them were charged. One was a reporter, and that certainly creates the impression that the authorities were attempting to silence a journalist and prevent her from telling an important story,” NDNA Executive Director Steve Andrist wrote after reviewing the complaint against her.

Jack McDonald, attorney for the newspaper association who has worked in media law for 40 years, said he could not recall a reporter facing trespassing charges while covering a story in the state.

Lucy Dalglish, dean of the journalism school at the University of Maryland and former executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said Goodman’s case will revolve around whether she was singled out for charges. “If they treated her differently or in a more negative way because she was reporting, then there is a First Amendment issue.”

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