It is not a great time to be a journalist in America.
The assault on the First Amendment by militarized police in Ferguson, Mo., continues unabated, and the press is not spared. Since the start of protests against the August 9 killing of Michael Brown, journalists in Ferguson have been arrested, fired on, threatened, and assaulted.
After more than a week of heavy-handed police violence — through the use of tactics and weapons better suited for a warzone than an American suburb — freedoms of speech and the press were dealt a major legal blow on Tuesday. A federal court denied a motion from the ACLU of Missouri for an emergency order to prevent police from enforcing a ban on standing in place for more than five seconds. The “keep-moving mandate” (also known as the five-second rule) remains in place, criminalizing constitutionally protected activity and placing a dangerous barrier on the ability of the media to bring us stories from this city under siege. As Tony Rothert, the legal director of the ACLU of Missouri, told MSNBC, “In many ways, the First Amendment has been suspended in Ferguson.”