Home > Uncategorized > Freedom of the Press? That’s hot.

Freedom of the Press? That’s hot.

Photographs by Karly Domb Sadof for The New York Times

A New York Times photo-intern was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and harrasment after refusing orders from the Port Authority Police to stop snapping photos of Paris Hilton this past Thursday. Karly Domb Sadof allegedly pushed a police officer in the face during the incident at a lunch party for the United Service Oranzations at The New York City Port Authority. The full story on the event can be read in The Times City Room section here:

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/at-the-bus-station-who-else-but-paris-hilton/

What seems like such a small incident at the bottom of a celebrity story actually says much about the news industry and the challenges young journalists face today. Miss Sadof was a young intern on assignment. When your an intern trying to break into an organization, especially one as prestigious as The New York Times, you comply with your editors demands. In this case, Miss Sadof was told to get pictures of Paris Hilton attending a public event.

But the event had a “no press” rule, which is odd considering it’s an excellent PR opportunity for Miss Hilton. So, as Miss Hilton approached the Port Authority, Miss Sadof took the opportunity to snap pictures of a public figure entering a public building. This is exactly the sort of freedom protected by the First Amendment. But Miss Hilton’s team and the Port Authority Police had different plans.

As a crowd formed around Miss Hilton, they ordered Miss Sadof to stop taking pictures. Suddenly, Miss Sadof is accused of pushing a police officer in the face and now faces charges of disorderly conduct and harrasment. Does something sound fishy here? I myself find it extremely hard to believe that an inexperienced intern would strike a police officer.

Journalists are constantly under attack for attempting to cover the most important events around the world: wars, drug trafficking, revolutions, and corrupt governments. We don’t need to add celebrity photos to that list. Celebrities trade on their image, and should be given no further protections from the press than anyone else does.

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