SPLC issues guidelines to journalists covering anti-war protests

The Student Press Law Center hasissued guidelines to student journalists involved in covering anti-war or otherlarge protests to avoid being arrested or detained.

Several studentreporters and photographers were arrested while attempting to cover the WorldBank/International Monetary Fund meetings in Washington, D.C., last September aswere a handful of other student reporters at anti-war protests in Washington,D.C., and San Francisco this month (see story, below).

To help avoidrun-in’s with police, the Center offers the following advice for college studentmedia members planning to cover large-scale protests or rallies:

1) Bringcredentials. Every student journalist covering the event should have somethingthat clearly identifies him or her as a member of the press.

2) Avoid theappearance of being a participant in the protests.

3) Bring a cell phoneand at least $50 cash. If detained or threatened with arrest, the ability tocontact outside help quickly can be important.

4) Obey all police orders.If ordered by police officials to leave an area or disperse, move outside thecrowd and find a place to observe and cover as close as possible.

5) Ifarrested or detained, act immediately. First, inform the police officers inquestion that you are a journalist there to cover the events and show them yourpress credentials.