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Reporters Legal Hotline Drew 9 Calls during GOP Convention [View All]

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mourningdove92 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-08-04 03:08 PM
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Reporters Legal Hotline Drew 9 Calls during GOP Convention
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Reporters' Legal Hotline Drew Nine Calls During GOP Convention

By Joe Strupp

Published: September 07, 2004 11:00 AM EDT

A special legal support hotline for reporters covering the Republican National Convention, set up by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, received at least nine calls for help from journalists who were arrested or detained at the event, the RCFP said Tuesday.

Although that may be considered low, since nearly 2,000 protesters were arrested during the week, RCFP leaders contend it is significant, since a similar hotline set up for the Democratic National Convention in Boston prompted no calls. Reporters Committee leaders also received a number of complaints from journalists about being hassled over credentials, especially if they lacked New York City press passes.

"Despite assurances from New York City police that arrests of journalists would be minimized, numerous credentialed and uncredentialed journalists were detained during the Republican National Convention," the Reporters Committee said in a statement. "Some for extended periods of time."

The hotline provided free legal assistance to journalists covering the convention, as it had at every national political convention since 1976, RCFP officials said. The hotline was staffed and co-sponsored by attorneys from the law firm of Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, who coordinated with volunteer attorneys from other firms.

According to hotline attorney Halimah DeLaine, the hotline received at least nine calls between Friday, Aug. 27, when protesters began to arrive, and the end of the convention on Thursday, Sept. 2. In contrast, hotlines established at the Democratic National Convention in Boston and the 1992 Democratic convention in New York, the last time a presidential convention was held in the city, received no reports of journalists being detained.

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