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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Journalists arrested at Republican convention

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemned the arrest of at least seven journalists covering protests out side the US Republican Party convention and is calling for the release of three journalists still being held and for all charges against them to be dropped.

The seven journalists were arrested last Monday in the city of St. Paul, where the Republicans were officially nominating their Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates. Other independent journalists have been pepper-sprayed and even held at gunpoint during "pre-emptive" raids aimed at disrupting protesters, said US media reform group Free Press.

Amy Goodman, host of the Democracy Now! television and radio show, was arrested after trying to get information about two producers from her show, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, who were arrested while filming protestors. A photographer for the Associated Press, Matt Rourke, was also arrested at about the same time. The Democracy Now! journalists and Rourke were released hours after being arrested. Goodman was officially charged with "obstruction of a legal process and interference with a peace officer."

Student journalists Edward Matthews and Britney McIntosh from the University of Kentucky and university newspaper advisor James Winn were also arrested. All three had press credentials with them. They are still awaiting formal charges and may be released soon, according to reports.

The Newspaper Guild-CWA, a US affiliate of the IFJ, said it is joining with Free Press and other organizations in demanding that all charges be dropped against the journalists arrested while covering the Republican Convention and related protests, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Click here to sign the Free Press online petition calling for charges to be dropped against the journalists: petition

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