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Letter: Press censorship

Published: Sunday, Aug. 17 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

Last week in Ferguson, Missouri, a black teenager was shot and killed under suspicious circumstances. As the public demonstrates their emotions over the killing, police have resorted to aggressive measures to quell anything that resembles civil unrest.

What is most egregious in Ferguson is the treatment of the press. Authorities in Ferguson are attempting to cover the eyes and ears of the media. An Al-Jazeera camera crew was the target of a tear gas canister. Washington Post and Huffington Post writers were targeted and arrested in public. Police are threatening anyone with a camera lens to prove they have a legitimate reason to take a photo.

This is a dark, scary road. When law enforcement attempts to censor the press, whether by coercion or by force, they open a channel by which they can act without oversight or public awareness. Press censorship removes the possibility that abuse of power is ever discovered or regulated. Cases of this can be seen in the USSR, China and Iran.

We have a right to know what happens in a public space. Freedom of the Press is a crucial and fundamental right that preserves a fair and balanced nation.

Christopher Samuels

Salt Lake City

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