Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bloggers Get Press Credentials From NY Police Dept.


Warner Todd Huston

In a turn of events that should and will be used by bloggers all across the country, three news bloggers have prevailed over the New York City Police Dept. and received their press credentials despite being denied previously without explanation.

The New York Times City Room Blog reports that that Rafael Martínez Alequin, Ralph E. Smith and David Wallis filed a federal lawsuit when each of them were denied credentials, even though all of them had such credentials in the past.

In the face of the lawsuit, the NYPD changed their minds and issued the three their press cards, anyway. This move gives other bloggers across the country hope for legitimacy in the eyes of government officials.

“This step recognizes that bloggers are 21st-century journalists,” Mr. Siegel, a noted civil liberties lawyer who has announced plans to run for public advocate next year, said in a phone interview. “It’s an important first step, but only a first step, because we still need to address the constitutional problem of who gets press credentials in New York City. The Police Department should not be in the business of determining who’s a journalist.”

Bloggers should carefully cite this precedent and store it away for future reference

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