(Editor’s Note: Even though Prop 101 is still in effect, its being lifted for this story only, since WIQI is part.)
A little over ten days ago, yours truly wrote a Think Tank regarding an incident that happened outside Mt. Sinai Hospital between the Chicago Police and two journalists – WGN-TV’s Dan Ponce and WMAQ videographer Donte Williams who were trying to cover a story. Well, we have an update, courtesy of Chicagoland Radio & Media.
As you recall, both Ponce and Williams were detained by an overzealous police officer – even going as far as threatening to take away their First Amendment rights – an incident that outraged Chicago’s journalistic community, and brought a strong response from the National Press Photographers Association.
According to Chicagoland Radio & Media, WIQI-FM’s Charlie Meyerson brought up the issue with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Mayor assured journalists won’t be placed in handcuffs – not on his watch.
Emanuel’s comments were made during a press conference on Chicago’s West Side. As reported by Chicago Sun-Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman, Emanuel was quoted as saying that he does not condone journalists being detained while trying to perform their duties, which are protected under the First Amendment.
The concerns from journalists come as the city is preparing to host the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Summit, or NATO, on May 20 and 21. The event is expected to draw thousands of journalists from across the globe (not to mention a lot of protestors.) Many of them were worried about how they would be treated by Chicago Police during the event.
Props to Mayor Emanuel for addressing this situation and sticking up for journalists and respecting their First Amendment right to do their jobs (and maybe referring to him as “Sheldon Cooper” was going a little bit too far.)