On October 11, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) sent a letter to the Mayor and City Attorney of Medford Oregon, demanding they drop charges against journalist April Ehrlich. While local police officers were disbanding a homeless encampment on public land, a police officer arrested Ms. Ehrlich after she wouldn’t stay in a designated media area. The designated media area was so far away from the encampment that Ms. Ehrlich couldn’t properly report on it. The Alliance joined RCFP’s brief supporting Ms. Ehrlich’s right to report on matters of public concern and demanding that any charges against her be dropped. “The City has an affirmative obligation to afford opportunities to document police operations even when access to the land is otherwise restricted… And a constitutionally adequate opportunity to observe the work entails both sight and sound access for reporters working in different media.” On October 21, the city attorneys responded to the letter, declining to comment on a defendant in an ongoing criminal case.
Members of the News/Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.