Has War on Terrorism “Morphed Into An Assault on Photography”?


Robert Stolarik's cameras were confiscated when was arrested Aug. 4 while photographing police on a public street in New York City. He has them back now, reports the Poynter Institute, but he still hasn't received his press credentials. Stolarik met with the police department’s Internal Affairs unit Monday to discuss his complaint against the officers who beat and arrested him. Attorney Mickey Osterreicher of the National Press Photographers Association told the New York Times that “the war on terrorism has somehow morphed into an assault on photography,” both by the press and the general public.

“Literally every day, someone is being arrested for doing nothing more than taking a photograph in a public place. It makes no sense to me. Photography is an expression of free speech,” Osterreicher says. The New York Police Department issued guidelines telling officers not to interfere with the press, but the problem persists. He tells the Times: “I believe that the problem is that it’s ingrained in the police culture. The idea of serve and protect has somehow changed, for some officers, to include protecting the public from being photographed.”

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