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Oil spill media crackdown - 6 July

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Photographer Briefly Detained by Police Near BP’s Texas City Refinery

Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica
A photographer taking pictures for these articles, was detained Friday while shooting pictures in Texas City, Texas.

The photographer, Lance Rosenfield, said that shortly after arriving in town, he was confronted by a BP security officer, local police and a man who identified himself as an agent of the Department of Homeland Security. He was released after the police reviewed the pictures he had taken on Friday and recorded his date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information.

The police officer then turned that information over to the BP security guard under what he said was standard procedure, according to Rosenfield.

No charges were filed...
(2 July 2010)


The BP/Government police state

Glenn Greenwals, Salon
Last week, I interviewed Mother Jones' Mac McClelland, who has been covering the BP oil spill in the Gulf since the first day it happened. She detailed how local police and federal officials work with BP to harass, impede, interrogate and even detain journalists who are covering the impact of the spill and the clean-up efforts. She documented one incident which was particularly chilling of an activist who -- after being told by a local police officer to stop filming a BP facility because "BP didn't want him filming" -- was then pulled over after he left by that officer so he could be interrogated by a BP security official. McClelland also described how BP has virtually bought entire Police Departments which now do its bidding: "One parish has 57 extra shifts per week that they are devoting entirely to, basically, BP security detail, and BP is paying the sheriff's office."...
(5 July 2010)


Media, boaters could face criminal penalties by entering oil cleanup 'safety zone'

Chris Kirkham, The Times-Picayune
The Coast Guard has put new restrictions in place across the Gulf Coast that prevent the public - including news photographers and reporters covering the BP oil spill - from coming within 65 feet of any response vessels or booms on the water or on beaches.
.
According to a news release from the Unified Command, violation of the "safety zone" rules can result in a civil penalty of up to $40,000, and could be classified as a Class D felony. Because booms are often placed more than 40 feet on the outside of islands or marsh grasses, the 65-foot rule could make it difficult to photograph and document the impacts of oil on land and wildlife, media representatives said.

But federal officials said the buffer zone is essential to the clean-up effort...
(1 July 2010)

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