News by Professionals 4 Professionals

Reporter says security ‘manhandled’ him after he asked FCC questions

Security guards reportedly manhandled an award-winning reporter after he asked Federal Communications Commission officials questions at a public hearing Thursday, according to a National Press Club statement. John Donnelly, a journalist at CQ Roll Call, was removed from the scheduled press conference by security after he attempted to ask the commissioners questions before they arrived at the podium.

. @FCC[1] guards manhandled me, forced me out of building when I tried to ask @AjitPaiFCC[2] & @mikeofcc[3] questions. https://t.co/qQHQ4O82lc[4] 1

John M. Donnelly (@johnmdonnelly) May 18, 2017[5]

Donnelly said two guards, using the backs of their bodies, pinned him to the wall while FCC Commissioner Michael O Rielly passed. They then escorted him out of the event.

I could not have been less threatening or more polite, Donnelly said according to the NPC release on the matter. There is no justification for using force in such a situation.

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The security at the monthly open meeting was unusually high as the FCC voted on the high profile issue of net neutrality.

[W]e apologized to Mr. Donnelly more than once and let him know that the FCC was on heightened alert today based on several threats, a spokesman for the FCC said in an email Thursday. NPC President Jeff Ballou condemned the guard s physical handling in the release.

Donnelly was doing his job and doing it with his characteristic civility, Ballou said. Reporters can ask questions in any area of a public building that is not marked off as restricted to them. Officials who are fielding the questions don t have to answer. 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.

The interaction comes a week after a reporter was arrested[6] at the West Virginia State Capitol after trying to ask Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price a question about the House-passed healthcare bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

References

  1. ^ @FCC (twitter.com)
  2. ^ @AjitPaiFCC (twitter.com)
  3. ^ @mikeofcc (twitter.com)
  4. ^ https://t.co/qQHQ4O82lc (t.co)
  5. ^ May 18, 2017 (twitter.com)
  6. ^ arrested (thehill.com)

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