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August 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The executive director of the Radio Television Digital News Association has fired off a letter to the Ferguson, MO chief of police, protesting against the allegedly indiscriminate attacks by officers against reporters covering the disorder in the St. Louis suburb. "While our members and the journalism community as a whole understand your department’s primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of the residents of Ferguson during this time," the letter by Mike Cavender to Chief Thomas Jackson began, "we strongly object to the conduct of some of your officers, along with that of other law enforcement officials as it impacts journalists. This includes placing undue limits on media access to the affected portions of the community, along with the continuing reports of harassment and undue treatment of reporters, photographers and others involved on-scene, who are providing vital news coverage of the events as they unfold." Cavender’s letter came following reports that some journalists covering the disorder in Ferguson following the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, had been struck by rubber bullets, had been ordered to leave the area and had been threatened with arrest. Cavender’s letter concluded: "It is simply unacceptable if any journalists were specifically targeted by anti-riot measures, such as tear gas, rubber bullets or similar tactics. Any such actions would be in direct conflict with reasonable respect for the rights of all involved."