Protecting journalists is about protecting democracy, open government

15 Jan

Basic health and safety is something we should be able to take for granted arriving for work each day.
We expect no less for the reporters, photographers and editors who help us bring you the news each day.
So it is with great concern that we call attention to the assault of a young reporter outside the Middlesex County Courthouse in Middletown on Monday. She was there just trying to do her job – reporting on a bomb threat at a local school that sparked fear and chaos in the wake of the mass shooting last month in Newtown.
For that, she was shoved to the ground, from behind, and had to be taken to the hospital for evaluation.
Connecticut State Police have since arrested the father of the young man accused in the bomb threat case and charged him with assault.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time something like this has happened to a journalist in The Middletown Press. In fact, it happened earlier this year on that same sidewalk when someone shoved one of our photographers, grabbed her camera and spit on her. She was there to cover the case of a local man accused of stabbing alpacas at a local farm a sex assault trial.
It’s been a difficult and at times scary few months for our journalists in Connecticut. We were working around the clock, under makeshift conditions, and out in the darkness and rain to keep readers connected to emergency information during Hurricane Sandy.
And then we confronted something a million times worse in covering the Newtown shooting and the funeral after funeral that followed for victims who reminded us of our own children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Our reporters and photographers press on in the face of insults, constant second-guessing and critique, and anger from those who do not want a light aimed at their situation.
The Journal News, a daily newspaper across the border in New York, recently hired security guards to protect its journalists from death threats in the wake of its decision to publish a list of all gun permit holders in its coverage area.
Media organizations are far from perfect, and much has been written questioning the wisdom and rationale behind that newspaper’s gun list. But we’d urge people who speak up for gun rights from a “keep government power in check” standpoint to reflect on our country’s most powerful weapon against unlimited government power. It’s the free flow of information about what the government is doing – the kind of work our journalists in Middletown do in covering the police and courts, and although arguably misguided in this case, the Journal News’ use of the Freedom of Information Act.
We applaud the Connecticut State Police for taking the assault on our reporter seriously on Monday and making an arrest. A crime was committed, of course, and they did their job to enforce the law. But they also recognized, implicitly, that reporter’s place alongside police, prosecutor, judge and defense attorney in the process of delivering justice and protecting the public’s interest.

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4 Responses to “Protecting journalists is about protecting democracy, open government”

  1. Eugene Driscoll January 15, 2013 at 8:34 am #

    It’s open season on reporters.

    You make a great point — journalists have done more to keep government in check than thousands of AR-15 rifles.

  2. Ali Goria January 15, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    While your point about the woman is valid of course, you have to be KIDDING about “journalists” in America now. There is NO SUCH THING.

    The only reason Barack Obama is getting away with “fundamentally changing America” per his schedule, and people like Cuomo got away with passing Anti-Constitutional 2nd Amendment gun grabbing legislation at midnight, and even Bloomberg banning sugar drinks and controlling mothers’ right to bottle feed THEIR BABIES in hospitals…. is the Liberal lap-dog media, pushing THEIR common agenda.

    They are in collusion to drag 300 Million citizens left at any cost, using scorched earth hyperbole, attacking anyone who has a political variance with their ideology, and NOT reporting truth.

    Saul Alinsky is the greatest figure in American politics since the 2nd World War and the media is gleeful about their role in our country’s demise, by joining his Rules For Radicals methodologies.

    And you OBVIOUSLY have no clue about the FOIA process. Decisions about approving or denying FOIA requests are at the level of the municipal FOIA officer and this type of information is routinely denied all over the country. You can’t even get a list of DOG LICENSE owners in most places.

    Except if you live in NY, apparently, where they actually pass laws giving the political inmates and tyrants the “rights” to run the asylum. .

    • Dave Fegent February 7, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

      you could not be more right. i do not want to see any journalist be beaten up or assaulted. but the freedom of the press was written into the constitution to protect the people from the goverment, to expose their lies and corruption, not to back a certain ideology or promote it. most of the news media today is on the side of the liberal left and have backed and promoted the liberal progressive agenda. it is one thing to editorialize ones opinion, it is another to slant the news to favor ones political ideology as the media has done here in connecticut for malloy and nationally with obama or any other democrat. if dan malloy was a republican, the media here would be calling for an investigation of his tactics of paying companies with tax dollars to stay here and then veto legislation that would require him to disclose all his campaign contributions. have we even heard of this in the media? he gave 115 million of our tax dollars to hedge fund group in westport to move to stamford and the CEO of this company is a billionaire. do you think any of these funds will be returned to danny for his re-election campaign? just a thought. will any of the so-called 1st 5 companies be supporting malloys re-election also? it just stinks of corruption and our media here sits on their hands.

  3. johnsweeney January 16, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    The editors that place journalists in danger are as bad publishers that publish tripe. News is who was married
    ,who had a baby, who died, the weather, science discoveries,sports, winnings and losings.,accidents. etc.These are facts no opinions.Give the public a break. Trouble brings more trouble. Not News

    Ps .the pen is mighter than the sword or gun

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