Archive | September, 2004

Champaign, IL PD Says It’s a Felony To Videotape Them in Public

Two local Champaign, IL men have recently been arrested for videotaping police performing traffic stops in their predominantly black neighborhoods — the bogus charge is felony eavesdropping. I interviewed one of the men, Martell Miller, on the radio show on Aug. 27, and the archive is on-line for listening.

Now that the word is out to the wider community, people are mobilizing to support them against what is obvious police harrassment in order to avoid citizen scrutiny.

Even the fairly conservative local daily newspaper, the News-Gazette, has editorialized in defense of the two men. That’s because they know if these two guys can be locked up on felony charges for recording things that are happening in public, then anyone, including journalists, could be arrested for videotaping anything that happens in public. There is no consitutionally defensible definition for journalist that sets one apart from any other person — if you journal, then you’re a journalist in the eyes of the First Amendment. When it comes to recording the actions of the police in public, your rights are the same as the local paper and TV station’s rights — if you can be arrested for a felony, so can they.

The videos of the police that were shot show how differently the Champaign PD treats crowds of African-Americans leaving a club, compared to how they treat a crowd of drunk and rowdy college students leaving a campus bar, amongst other things. The cops confiscated a copy of the tape that was going to be aired on public access. Now there will be two public screenings.

This story at the Urbana-Champaign IMC gives more details about the case and about the screenings.

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NoRNC Phone Tech and the Evolution of Indymedia

Rabble of Anarchogeek worked this past week on a very cool last-minute project to make all sorts of information available by phone to protestors and reporters on the streets in NYC.

He also posts his thoughts on the evolution of Indymedia, which I think are spot on. He identifies some strenghts of Indymedia, which I couldn’t agree with more:

Indymedia is a media system built upon the premise that only by radical participation in a communal discursive space can a new conception of politics be created. It is this open publishing, participatory media making network which invites a broad spectrum of social movements to participate that makes indymedia special. …

We decided to not have a central office or staff.

We decided not to have presidents, directors, staff, or elections. ….

We’ve appropriated technology as an essential tool for radical social change.

We decided that each imc should be allowed tremendous autonomy. …

We’ve decided that we don’t care too much what other people think of us.

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On Today’s Radio Show: RNC Wrap-UP with A-Noise Webcast, U-C IMC Reporters Arrested and Detained

On today’s mediageek radioshow, we’ll talk to Sarah from the A-Noise collective, which provided 24-hour web-radio coverage of the RNC protests for six days straight. We’ll also hear the story of one Urbana-Champaign IMC reporter who was arrested and detained at the now infamout Pier 57 facility.

The radioshow airs Fridays at 5:30 PM on Community Radio WEFT 90.1 FM in Champaign, IL. It’s archived here in mp3 and ogg vorbis for on-line listening.

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Feature on U-C IMC Reporters Arrested in NYC

Two volunteers stayed at the Urbana-Champaign IMC all night last night in order to take phone calls from our reporters who had been released from detention as well as keep tabs on one reporter who still remains in custody, but is in Central Booking and scheduled for release today.

They used some of that time to write a comprehensive feature article for the U-C IMC website summarizing the arrest and travails of the U-C IMC’s five reporters in NYC.

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