Top Ad unit 728 × 90

Senators ask FCC why reporter was “manhandled” after net neutrality vote

 

Senators to FCC: Don’t roughhouse journalists who are trying to ask questions.

Jon Brodkin

Two Democratic senators have asked Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to explain why "FCC security personnel reportedly manhandled, threatened, and ejected" a journalist who was trying to ask questions after last week's net neutrality vote.
Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) sent a letter to Pai Friday, one day after CQ Roll Call reporter John Donnelly accused FCC guards of forcing him out of the building when he was trying to talk to Pai and Commissioner Michael O'Rielly.
Udall and Hassan wrote:
Given the FCC's role as the primary authority for communications law and its regulatory role with respect to the media, the FCC should set a sterling example when it comes to supporting the First Amendment and freedom of the press for other government entities here in the United States and around the world... Yesterday’s incident at the FCC is not an isolated one and seems to be a part of a larger pattern of hostility towards the press characteristic of this Administration, which underscores our serious concern.
Criticism from the Senate is not coming just from Democrats. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) issued a statement saying that the FCC "needs to take a hard look at why this happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again." Reporters asking questions after meetings and press conferences is "standard operating procedure," and "there’s no good reason to put hands on a reporter who's doing his or her job," Grassley said.


FCC guards "pinned Donnelly against the wall" in order to prevent him from asking a question, according to The National Press Club. The FCC said it apologized to Donnelly.

Trump administration and the media

The Udall/Hassan letter called the Donnelly incident "a new low point in a disturbing trend." They referred to several other incidents involving President Donald Trump and his administration, such as the arrest of a journalist who was trying to ask questions of Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, a CNN reporter who "received a threatening phone call from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's communications advisor R.C. Hammond," and the White House not allowing US media to cover Trump's meeting with Russian officials despite letting Russian state-run media photograph the event.


The senators' letter also pointed to Trump's chief of staff saying the White House was discussing changes to libel laws and to Trump calling the press "the enemy of the American people." (Other Democratic senators previously criticized Pai for declining to denounce Trump's "enemy" comment.)
Udall and Hassan asked Pai to respond by Friday with the following information:
  1. A detailed description of the facts and circumstances of the May 18th incident at FCC headquarters;
  2. A thorough explanation of any inappropriate physical contact, aggression, or threats against reporter John M. Donnelly by FCC security staff or other FCC officials while at FCC headquarters;
  3. An explanation of any potential misconduct or wrongdoing by FCC security personnel or other FCC officials on May 18th;
  4. A description of FCC security policies for public events including but not limited to speaking events featuring an FCC Commissioner; and
  5. Your assurance that an incident such as the alleged physical restraint of reporter John Donnelly will not happen again.
They also asked Pai to review the FCC's security policies and training of staff, as well as submit a written report to Senate committees within 60 days. The written report should include "explanation of any changes to security and training policies you will undertake following the May 18th incident," the senators wrote.
On Thursday night, the FCC said it apologized to Donnelly "and let him know that the FCC was on heightened alert today based on several threats," but declined further comment. When contacted by Ars today, an FCC spokesperson said the agency received the letter and is reviewing it.
Senators ask FCC why reporter was “manhandled” after net neutrality vote Reviewed by Chidinma C Amadi on 11:52 PM Rating: 5

No comments:

Kogonuso © All Rights Reserved!

Contact Form

Name

Email *

Message *

Powered by Blogger.