'Hands Off Reporters!' US Journalist Harassed by FCC Security Forces


Meanwhile, a statement from the NATIONAL PRESS CLUB co-signed by the RADIO TELEVISION DIGITAL NEWS ASSOCIATION and several other organizations voiced concern about the situation, saying, "We acknowledge that many public figures have legitimate security concerns (in part because of the polarization created or exacerbated by the toxic rhetoric that all too many of them employ)".

According to the National Press Club, a reporter for CQ Roll Call was restrained by FCC guards and required to leave after he tried to ask questions of Commissioner Michael O'Rielly.

"When Donnelly strolled in an unthreatening way toward FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly to pose a question, two guards pinned Donnelly against the wall with the backs of their bodies until O'Rielly had passed", the report said. Donnelly said he waited in the hallway to asked the commissioner a question on an unrelated topic.

"We apologized to Mr. Donnelly a couple of times and let him know that the FCC was on heightened alert. based on several threats", FCC spokesman Brian Hart said in a statement.

"The Federal Communications Commission needs to take a hard look at why this happened and make sure it doesn't happen again", Grassley said in his Friday statement.

The "hearing" was the FCC's public meeting at which O'Rielly and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai voted to launch the rollback of Title II, a move that has inflamed net neutrality activists and helped generate more than 2 million comments to the FCC.

"We apologized to Mr. Donnelly a couple of times and let him know that the FCC was on heightened alert today based on several threats", said Neil Grace, an FCC spokesman said. "I positioned myself in a place where I could ask a question ... and if somebody in an official capacity in Washington doesn't want to answer a question from a reporter, all they do is smile and say, 'Have a nice day, ' and walk on". A reporter was allegedly manhandled during an FCC meeting Thursday. Officials who are fielding the questions don't have to answer.

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"Donnelly was doing his job and doing it with his characteristic civility", said National Press Club President Jeff Ballou. "But it is completely unacceptable to physically restrain a reporter who has done nothing wrong or force him or her to leave a public building as if a crime had been committed".

Donnelly was asked to leave the premises. FCC officials apologized to Shields after that incident.

"If you see something, say something: in print, online or over the air".

Frederick Bucher could not be reached for comment. I wanted to ask questions one-on-one. The guards were reportedly aware that Donnelly was a journalist.

"I do appreciate their apology, which came only after I confronted them with it", Donnelly said.

The letter from UDALL and HASSAN called the incident a "new low point in a disturbing trend" of the TRUMP administration's press antagonism.