The New York Press Club, Inc.
1324 Lexington Avenue (Box 190)
New York NY 10128-1145
mailbox@nypressclub.org

OFFICERS

President
Steve Scott
WCBS Newsradio 880
1st Vice President
Jane TIllman Irving
WCBS Newsradio 880
2nd Vice President
Joe Connolly
WCBS Newsradio 880
Treasurer
Stephani Shelton
stephanishelton.com
Secretary
Elizabeth Semrai
HarperCollins
Corresponding Secretary
Beth Karas
KarasOnCrime.com

GOVERNORS

Winnie Hu
The New York Times
Rich Lamb
WCBS Newsradio 880
Mitch Lebe
24/7 News Source
Phil O'Brien
Con Edison, Inc.
Gabe Pressman
WNBC
Sonia Rincon
1010 WINS
Debra Toppeta
WomanAroundTown.com

TRUSTEES

Mark Lieberman
Past President
Jerry Schmetterer
Past President
Larry Seary
Past President
Deborah Wetzel
Past President
Administrator
Carl Leibowitz
Public Relations
Debra J. Caruso
Photographer
Staton Rabin
Accounting
John R. Lieberman
Counsel
Farrell Farrell Burke
Clergy
Fr. Matthew F. Malone, S.J.
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik

Freedom of the Press Committee and
The Coalition For the First Amendment

  • Overview
  • Members of the Coalition

logo The Coalition for the First Amendment consists of membership organizations representing working journalists, primarily in New York City. It was established in late November, 2011, in response to the alarming suppression, abuse and arrests of reporters covering NYPD's eviction of "Occupy Wall Street" protesters from Zuccotti Park on November 15th. Details of the police actions to suppress and deter coverage are contained in numerous accounts, below. So are communications between press organizations and New York City officials condemning the police actions and demanding that they cease.

In its call to other press groups to form the Coalition, the New York Press Club's Freedom of the Press Committee declared its intention to monitor, spotlight and chronicle police, public service, and public safety activities that infringe or threaten constitutional protections.

Coalition Information is Temporarily Unavailable

CLICK TO REPORT AN INCIDENT

1st Amendment Spanking for NYS Legislator

New York State senator Sue Serino (R, C, Ind.) was given a lesson in constitutional and state law by constituents after preventing a Dutchess County man from videotaping the proceedings at a public meeting in Putnam Valley last Tuesday (12/2/2015).

New York Press Club Coverage 12/06/2015
GRAPHIC First reported by Joseph Spector, Poughkeepsie Journal.

Following a back-and-forth between the videographer and Serino in which Serino repeatedly asked the videographer not to record the proceedings, a Putnam County Sheriff's deputy appeared, delivering an implied threat of arrest if the videographer did not stop taping. In the exchange, Serino claimed that her chief of staff (and/or "counsel") had authorized the suppression.

At a similar meeting the next day in Amenia, at least one of Serino's constituents demanded that Serino resign because of the senator's apparently limited grasp of First Amendment principals and the precepts and spirit of the state's Open Meetings Law.



Excerpts from Senator Serino's reply the next day in Amenia and constituent reaction, including a demand that she resign:



New York Press Club note to Senator Serino: we agree completely with what one of your constituents said at the Amenia meeting. We believe it is anti-ethical and unquestionably illegal to use police of any kind to suppress news coverage of peaceful, public events. It is also anti-ethical and disingenuous to claim that your chief of staff ("counsel") has any special powers to authorize press suppression. Your stated unhappiness with previous press coverage is by no means legitmate grounds to suppress further coverage.

Mr. Mayor: Please Answer Our Questions

Mayor Bill de Blasio again has demonstrated his lack of transparency, and the New York Press Club again protests his policy of not taking questions on topics that are not pre-approved by the de Blasio administration.

New York Press Club Statment 11/02/2015
GRAPHIC When WCBS-TV reporter Marcia Kramer tried to ask a question of Mayor de Blasio at a public bill signing at City Hall on Wednesday, she was ignored by the mayor, who eventually left the room without recognizing her question.

Mayor de Blasio has established a policy of telling journalists what topic(s) he will discuss at a press conference. If a reporter tries to ask a question on another subject, he or she is brusquely told the question is “off topic,” and no answer is given.

When Bill de Blasio was elected mayor of New York, he promised transparency within his administration. Unfortunately, that transparency has been clouded by opaqueness. For generations, mayors of New York have been open to questions on all subjects. The 300+ members New York Press Club object to Mayor de Blasio's current policy, and ask that the Mayor reverse it in the interests of having an open - and truly transparent - administration.

Gabe Pressman
Chair, New York Press Club Freedom of the Press Committee

Steve Scott
President, New York Press Club

Recent reporting on this topic:

CBS2 - Marcia Kramer Grills De Blasio Administration About Transparency.

DNAinfo.com NY - Mayor's Open Government Record Would Get 'D' Under His Own Grading System.

NY Daily News - Mr. Mayor, the press is not your enemy.

Oyster Bay Ejects Reporter From Town offices

Newsday reports that one of its journalists, Ted Phillips, was escorted out of the Oyster Bay Town office last week after requesting records from the town's zoning board of appeals.

According to Newsday, a police officer told Phillips that he was responding to a call about a "disturbance" and led Phillips out of the building. No charges were filed.

A Town spokesman says Phillips was ejected for conducting himself in a "disorderly and disruptive manner."

Newsday says Phillips was on assignment, trying to view zoning board minutes, which are available to the public, concerning appeals for variances from Town code. Editor Deborah Henley said Phillips was "doing his job professionally, as he and his colleagues have throughout this year, with reporting that has raised important issues involving Oyster Bay Town officials and government."

Objections to the ejection have been raised by The Press Club of Long Island and by the New York Press Club.

New York Press Club Statment on the Development 10/30/2015
GRAPHIC The 300+ members of the New York Press Club stand in support of Newsday reporter Ted Phillips, who reportedly was escorted out of the Oyster Bay Town offices by a police officer, after requesting records from the town's zoning board of appeals. No charges were filed against the reporter.

"Mr. Phillips says he was told by the police officer who ejected him that the action was prompted by a disturbance report," said New York Press Club President Steve Scott. "There were no other reports of a 'disturbance' at the office and no charges were filed. Mr. Phillips was making a perfectly legal records request in an ongoing look at how Oyster Bay conducts public business. The only 'disturbing' part of this incident is that town officials used a police officer to stop a journalist from doing his job."

"Use of police muscle to interrupt the free flow of public information cannot be tolerated. The New York Press Club joins our friends at the Press Club of Long Island, and all supporters of a free press, in calling on the Town of Oyster Bay to immediately stop this apparent practice of intimidation, and to properly respond to media records requests as required by law."

Steve Scott, President
The New York Press Club

NYPD Officer Guilty of False Testimony In Fotog Arrest

NYPD Officer Michael Ackermann was found guilty on October 15, 2015, of fabricating his reasons for arresting a New York Times photographer.

The shooter, Robert Stolarik, was covering a young woman’s arrest in the Melrose section of the Bronx during the evening of August 4th, 2012. Officer Ackermann was in the process of handcuffing the teenage girl as Stolarik was taking pictures from several feet away with a camera that was not equipped with a flash.

The officer claimed that Stolarik repeatedly got “in his face” firing the nonexistent flash over and over again – but it was shown at trial that there was no flash equipment on the camera and that Stolarik was not close to the arrest taking place. Stolarik was nevertheless arrested, his equipment was confiscated and he was charged with obstructing governmental administration. Those charges were subsequently dismissed.

After a week-long non-jury trial, Supreme Court Justice Michael A. Gross found Officer Ackermann guilty of false testimony in proceedings about the arrest.
New York Press Club Statment on the Development 10/15/2015
GRAPHIC The New York Press Club is thankful that Justice Michael Gross, through his guilty verdict for Officer Michael Ackerman, has exonerated New York Times photographer Robert Stolarik of wrongdoing. Mr. Stolarik was doing his job. He wasn't discharging his flash in Officer Ackerman's face; his camera was not even equipped with a flash. He was simply taking photographs of an arrest.

Being a cop is a difficult and important job. But, so is being a journalist. It's imperative that journalists be allowed to do their work without the threat of police intimidation or false arrest.

Steve Scott, President
The New York Press Club

To Hillary Clinton (And Others): 'Don't Fence Me In'

At a Fourth of July parade in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton's campaign team literally corralled journalists, using a rope line to keep them away from the candidate as she marched along the parade route. Photos from the scene show reporters penned in by rope. CBS News reports Clinton aide Huma Abedin shouted, "Keep walking! Keep walking!" as journalists found themselves cordoned off from the candidate.
New York Press Club's open letter to Hillary Clinton 7/4/2015
GRAPHIC The New York Press Club condemns the ever-increasing practice of walling off journalists (figuratively and literally) from public figures at public events.

"There's a long history of journalists walking alongside candidates and officeholders in holiday parades," said Press Club President Steve Scott.

"Included in that long history is a tradition of unhindered, on-the-record press access to our public officials."

"As president of the New York Press Club, I make no comment about Hillary Clinton's candidacy. But, I do call on Mrs. Clinton and all candidates to provide journalists with the access they need to properly do their jobs."

"Incidents such as what happened at the New Hampshire parade give journalists one more question to ask, once they free themselves from their rope corral: 'Why fence us out?'"

Sincerely,

Steve Scott, President

Mayor de Blasio's Staff Suppresses Free Expression

On Friday, May 19th, aides to Mayor de Blasio suppressed a group of sign-carrying protestors who appeared at a "photo op" stop at which the mayor officially opened the reconstructed Rockaway boardwalk, damaged during Superstorm Sandy. The aides banished the protestors to a "free speech zone" hundreds of feet away from the proceedings, presumably to prevent their various messages from being noticed.

The presidents of the New York Press Club and the New York Press Club Foundation have written to the mayor, reminding him that free speech protections cannot be suspended for his convenience.
New York Press Club's 5/27/2015 open letter to the Mayor
Via mail and fax
27 May 2015

Honorable Bill de Blasio
Mayor, City of New York
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Mr. Mayor:

During the recent ceremony at the boardwalk in Rockaway, your aides kept protesters holding signs at bay by setting up a so-called "Free Speech Zone" at the base of the boardwalk down a flight of steps, hundreds of feet away from the scene. If this is your idea of free speech as guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, you are badly mistaken. Free speech, like freedom of the press, is part of the liberties guaranteed to us since the founding of the nation. To call an area restricted from access by the public a "free speech zone" makes a mockery of our basic rights. It is outrageous.

You have promised many times to run an administration that is "transparent." What happened in Rockaway Beach makes a travesty of that promise. We demand that you inform your aides that suppression of free expression is against the law of the land and the policies of your administration. It violates the basic principles of democracy and of the time-honored tradition of openness at City Hall. Sincerely,

Sincerely,

Larry Seary, President
Gabe Pressman, Chair of Freedom of the Press Committee
Story first (and subsequently) reported by DNAinfo.com New York.

Paris Attack an Assault on Free Press and Journalists Everywhere

1/7/2015 Press Club Statement on Charlie Hedbo Terrorist Attack
GRAPHIC
New York Press Club president Larry Seary's statement on the terror attack in Paris that killed 10 journalists and two policemen.


"The New York Press Club stands in solidarity with our colleagues at Charlie Hebdo who were assassinated in their Paris offices, the latest victims of terrorist violence against the press, and reportedly the work of Islamist extremists.

"Our outrage at the cowardly assassinations of 10 journalists and two police officers is boundless.

"These journalists were brave, irreverent and committed to their publication's use of satire. This was an attack on a publication, a country and its free press.

"In our city, where, in an epic trial three centuries ago, John Peter Zenger and his two attorneys, Andrew Hamilton and William Smith Senior, stood up for freedom of the press, we express solidarity with our French brothers and sisters. The attack on press freedom in Paris was an attack on journalists everywhere."

MAYOR DE BLASIO AGAIN TAKEN TO TASK ON PRESS ACCESS

New York Press Club president's 9/3/2014 open letter to the Mayor
Via mail and fax
September 3rd, 2014

Honorable Bill de Blasio
Mayor, City of New York
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Mr. Mayor:

Eight months have passed since you took office as New York City's 109th mayor. This organization, which since 1948 has represented this city's journalists, is deeply disturbed by a pattern that has emerged in the way you deal with reporters seeking information in the interest of the people of New York. You list a daily schedule for yourself in which some events are designated as "open press" and others are described as "closed press." You list still other events with a condition, "no q. and a." Another condition that you set sometimes is taking questions only on a particular topic. When reporters try to get answers on other matters deemed vital to their readers, viewers or listeners, you admonish them: "On topic!" and refuse to take questions on a subject not set by you. That anti-press gimmick was invented by Michael Bloomberg.

You have departed from a precedent set by at least eight mayors before you, which has been to take questions in open press conferences without restriction as to the subject matter.

You have promised to run a "transparent" administration. But the conditions you set on virtually a daily basis are not transparent but opaque. What gives you the right to set the agenda for what journalists can ask you about? Is that in keeping with the fundamental right of freedom of the press?

We think not----and we urge you to change your policy and open City Hall to free discussion of issues---at least by taking questions on all matters that reporters believe concern your constituents and theirs.

It's time for a change, time to let in the sunlight. It is sad that a man who deems himself a progressive, is retrogressive----when freedom of the press is at stake.

Sincerely,

Larry Seary
President
The New York Press Club
seary@nypressclub.org
Click for reaction to the open letter
The New York Observer   (9/16/2014)
Mayor de Blasio's Failed Promise of Transparency.

amNY    (9/10/2014)
Bill de Blasio, don't be like Mike Bloomberg.

The New York Post   (9/8/2014)
De Blasio is for 'transparency,' until he's not.

The New York Observer   (9/5/2014)
'We're Doing It the Right Way:' Bill de Blasio Shoots Down NY Press Club Letter.

CAPITAL   (9/4/2014)
On-Topic Only.

Gothamist   (9/4/2014)
Reporters Are Sick Of De Blasio's Lust For "On-Topic" Questions.

Bay Ridge Journal   (9/4/2014)
Seary: DeBlasio Opaque Like Bloomberg.

Wave of Long Island (subscription)   (9/4/2014)
True Freedom of The Press.

Mediabistro   (9/3/2014)
New York Press Club Doesn't Care for de Blasio's Media Relations Strategy.

Jim Romenesko   (9/3/2014)
New York Press Club to Mayor De Blasio: Let reporters ask anything they want.

MAYOR DE BLASIO OFF ON WRONG FOOT WITH PRESS

Click to read Gabe Pressman's 5/16/2014 editorial in the Daily News
Veteran newsman accuses Mayor Bill de Blasio of "choking off" press access to the goings on at City Hall by limiting his availability to reporters and tightly defining what's coverable and what's not. This editorial appeared in The New York Daily News, May 16th, 2014.

I was there at the beginning of the television age at City Hall.

A few newspaper reporters objected when I tried, for the first time, to film a mayoral press conference. "We're not actors," they said. But several of my newspaper colleagues backed me up when I objected to being excluded. Ultimately, Mayor Robert Wagner ruled that television reporters had every right to cover his press conferences along with the written press.

Perhaps the battle we fought 60 years ago needs to be fought again today. New mayor Bill de Blasio and his aides are choking off television and newspaper access by tightly defining what we are given access to cover, as well as our access to the mayor himself.

It's not a new phenomenon. Mayor Bloomberg would ration reporters generally to one question, with no follow-ups allowed. Rudolph Giuliani was a little more available. But there's been a steady fall-off over the years in mayoral accessibility.

The high point of availability of a chief executive to the press was the Ed Koch era. He loved to joust with the press, at formal Blue Room press conferences, more intimate ones in his private office and informal, on-the-run encounters at the radiator in the corridor as he was rushing in or out of City Hall.

Mayor de Blasio's printed schedule, by contrast, shows an abundance of mayoral events with the words "closed press." That means we are told where the mayor will be but also that we're not permitted to follow him there.

On May 7, the mayor was listed as speaking at the Urban Fellows graduation ceremony. The schedule noted: "This event will be closed press."

On May 6, de Blasio went to Washington, where his schedule listed him meeting with Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand along with the New York Congressional delegation. "Closed press."

At noon the same day, he was to speak to a meeting of the Communications Workers of America. "Closed press." That evening, de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray and their daughter, Chiara, were to speak at the National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. That was listed as open press, but noting that "there will be no Q and A."

This problem is hardly restricted to City Hall. Gov. Cuomo and his staff restrict the press and broadcast journalists in similar ways in Albany, and he has been, if anything, even more resistant to giving answers to reporters. He seems to be allergic to one-on-one interviews and holds few news conferences.

As for the White House, it resists any informal, unstructured contact with the President, as has every recent administration.

We live in an age of consultants and press officers, whose mission is not to open up public officials and politicians to more scrutiny. Their goal is the opposite: to keep journalists from too much prying, too much in-your-face kind of questioning, especially on certain topics.

But journalists are eyes and ears for all of us, and we need them to push office-holders and politicians who try to limit our access to them.

Here at City Hall, we journalists have to take some responsibility for what has been a gradual limiting of our access.

New York has a proud tradition of in-your-face journalism going back to John Peter Zenger, who was jailed for writing critically about the English governor back in 1735. Zenger was jailed, then freed after a dramatic trial that was a milestone in the struggle for freedom of the press.

In Zenger's name, we need to renew that struggle whenever mayors, governors or presidents try to limit us or deny us access.

If, as a group, including both print and broadcast reporters, we refused to abide by the de Blasio administration's restrictions for one day, I believe the situation would change instantly.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ASSAULT ON THE FIRST AMENDMENT

Click to read the Press Club's 5/20/2013 letter of protest to AG Eric Holder
Text of the letter sent by the New York Press Club to the U.S. Attorney General regarding the Justice Department's significant breach of First Amendment press protections through its clandestine appropriation of the telephone records of Associated Press reporters in at least three AP bureaus.

May 20, 2013

Eric Holder, Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington D.C. 20530
via fax: (202) 307-6777

Dear Mr. Holder:

The New York Press Club strongly protests the Department of Justice's "dragnet" of telephone records of editors and reporters of The Associated Press. We see this broad use of subpoena powers as overreaching, and in violation of your own office’s guidelines. (28 C.F.R. Sect. 50.10) These guidelines were enacted during the Watergate era and were expanded in 1980 to cover telephone records.

The wide scope of the subpoenas calls into question the administration's ability to balance the DOJ's police powers with our constitutional rights. The actions of your office demonstrate that a strong federal shield law, yet to be enacted, is necessary to protect reporters from such actions, in a court of law, to ensure a fair weighing of the issues.

The DOJ's secret subpoenas appear to ignore the Attorney General's Guidelines, such as:

Narrow scope of the subpoena: Section 50.10 requires that a subpoena be as narrow as possible, with limited subject matter. However, the subpoena of The Associated Press's telephone records appeared to cover all records that could be relevant - in a fishing expedition through two months of newsgathering - in an effort to find information which might be of interest.

Obligation to inform and negotiate: Section 50.10 requires DOJ's prosecutors to state their intent and to negotiate with the news media in all cases involving telephone records. The DOJ apparently did not do so with The Associated Press.

Seeking information from alternative sources: The guidelines require that the DOJ take "all reasonable alternative investigative steps" before obtaining telephone records. The actions by your department suggest that the subpoena was an initial step in an effort to gather whatever information may be available.

Attorney General approval: the section also requires "the express authorization of the Attorney General" before any subpoena is sought to obtain information about the news media. Approval may not have been sought, or, if your approval was given, it should not have been under the terms of the citations, above.

Balancing of interests (Section 50.10(a): The guidelines are meant to ensure that the DOJ conform its behavior so that "the approach in every case must be to strike the proper balance between the public's interest in the free dissemination of ideas and information and the public's interest in effective law enforcement and the fair administration of justice."

The subpoena seeking phone records of Associated Press personnel was overly broad, gathering journalists' information as a first resort, not a last one. There was no negotiation with The Associated Press in an open and transparent manner and there was certainly no clear disclosure. The Associated Press held the story for five days, at the request of the administration and released it only when it was apparent that the administration was going to do the same, for its own public relations purposes.

The actions of the DOJ create the impression of an effort to frighten and intimidate potential confidential contacts which are vital to coverage of government. When government is the sole source of information, it is totalitarian. The First Amendment forbids such government infringements expressly to preserve Democracy. Using the phrase "national security" as a basis for obtaining the subpoenas against Associated Press personnel was, in our opinion, a disingenuous and unlawful act that weakens not only First Amendment protections but, ironically, the government’s own war on terror.

We ask that any and all telephone records of The Associated Press be returned, including the home and cell phone records of the journalists targeted by the DOJ, and that your office also disclose an accounting of any other news organizations that have been targeted by the Department of Justice.

The New York Press Club, serving the needs of New York's journalists since 1948, awaits your prompt response.

Sincerely,

Larry Seary
President, The New York Press Club

Communications With NYPD Regarding Press Relations


Coalition Notices Information is Temporarily Unavailable

Local Reports & Commentary


Reports & Commentary Information is Temporarily Unavailable

Nationwide

Compendium of Journalist Arrests Across the Country
Josh Stearns, Journalism and Public Media Campaign Director at Free Press, has been tracking reports of journalist arrests at Occupy protests all over the country since September, 2011. His compendium is updated regularly on Storify.

PRESS RIGHTS QUESTIONNAIRE FOR NYC MAYORAL CANDIDATES

Click to read the premise for the questionnaire sent to the mayoral candidates
Ascertaining Views of a Free Press
The New York Press Club has reached out to the announced mayoral candidates to hear their views on freedom of the press. In light of the Club's belief that First Amendment rights have been trampled on by the previous two mayoral administrations, Larry Seary, Club president, and the Club's Board of Directors, voted to poll the field so that Press Club members - and the public - can learn how the candidates view press rights. Results of the survey will be publicized.

The Club mailed a questionnaire to each candidate asking questions about suppression of news, creating an open dialogue on issues, allowing reporters to adequately cover crime scenes/events and whether NYPD is following its own guidelines in issuing credentials that allow members of the media to cross police lines, when necessary, to cover a story. Those receiving the survey were: Sal F. Albanese, Bill de Blasio, John Catsimatides, John Liu, Joe Lhota, Erick J. Salgado, George T. McDonald, Christine Quinn, William Thompson and Anthony Weiner.

"The past eight to 16 years have seen a degradation of the rights of those covering news for the public good in this city," said Seary. "There have been incidents where police officers have assaulted reporters. We've had reporters pushed farther and farther away from important events and we've endured an overall policy of keeping information out of the public arena. The situation at the NYPD, particularly, has sometimes been untenable."

Candidates' replies to the questionnaire, below.

QUESTIONNAIRE REPLIES FROM CANDIDATES

From: Bill de Blasio (D) NYC Public Advocate (received 5/8/2013)
Q1. Do you believe the press has a right to cover the news, and to have timely and unfettered access to documents and information that are rightly recognized to be public information? What would you do as Mayor to enforce those beliefs?

A1. Freedom of the press is one of the founding principles of our country. Our system of government cannot function without skeptical reporters asking probing questions, and photographers and video journalists having the access to capture images and bear witness to the work of democracy.

As Public Advocate, much of my work focuses on ensuring accountability and transparency throughout our city. When government agencies refused to respond to Freedom of Information Law requests, I joined reporters in their demands for accessible public documents. My office also recently issued a report card evaluating how City agencies respond to FOIL requests and gave a "F" to the NYPD, which has allowed nearly a third of FOIL requests to go unanswered. Like most New Yorkers, I believe our City thrives when the public is informed and aware of the inner-workings of our government.

I publicly stood up for the New York City press when it was under attack, with 26 journalists arrested during the eviction of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators. I wrote a column for the Huffington Post, criticizing the Bloomberg Administration and making clear my position on the importance of a free press with access to events.


Q2. Do you believe the NYPD is required to not only honor press rights, but to protect them as well? Or do you believe the NYPD should be exempt from those requirements?

A2. The NYPD should protect press rights. For a city to function effectively, our press must be allowed to cover news and events, except for the rare occasions when doing so could jeopardize public safety. All New Yorkers benefit from a vigilant and attentive press, just as we benefit from a vigilant and attentive police force.

Q3. Do you believe and support the proposition that the police do NOT have a right to arbitrarily or unreasonably interfere with the press as it tries to do its job? Do you believe that police officers that engage in such acts should be seriously sanctioned regardless of rank?

A3. Yes.

Q4. Would you pledge to direct your Police Commissioner to support the rights of the press to cover the news and to actively promote such a policy?

A4. Yes.

Q5. Over the last two administrations, the NYPD's Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information (DCPI) has come to be seen by many reporters and photographers as the Office of No Information or Misinformation! It wasn't always that way. Would you require your Police Commissioner to restore respect for press rights at DCPI?

A5. Yes.

Q6. Despite grumbling about being responsible for issuing "press passes" (official credentials), the NYPD continues to perform that function. Those credentials state that the bearer is entitled to cross police lines wherever formed. Would you require the NYPD to rigorously follow its own stated policies and return to honoring press credentials and the privilege it bestows on news gatherers?

A6. Yes.

From: Sal Albanese (D) (received 6/10/2013)
Q1. Do you believe the press has a right to cover the news, and to have timely and unfettered access to documents and information that are rightly recognized to be public information? What would you do as Mayor to enforce those beliefs?

A1. Absolutely. As a lifelong political reformer and proud New Yorker, I have always believed that our city government could and should be far more transparent and democratic. From proposing City Council rules reforms to advancing the city's first campaign finance law, I've committed my career to those principles. As a candidate, I've encountered firsthand the unwillingness of some city agencies to respond to FOIL requests in a timely manner. As Mayor, I'll direct my agencies to not only share public information in a timely fashion, but to develop the digital platforms that make requesting and obtaining public information as user-friendly as possible.

Q2. Do you believe the NYPD is required to not only honor press rights, but to protect them as well? Or do you believe the NYPD should be exempt from those requirements?

A2. Yes. Under an Albanese administration, every city agency will be obligated to abide by the letter of the law, which includes respecting and protecting the rights of a free press.

Q3. Do you believe and support the proposition that the police do NOT have a right to arbitrarily or unreasonably interfere with the press as it tries to do its job? Do you believe that police officers that engage in such acts should be seriously sanctioned regardless of rank?

A3. Yes. Like all city agencies in an Albanese administration, the NYPD would be directed to abide by the law, which includes allowing the press to pursue a story to the extent permitted by the law.

Q4. Would you pledge to direct your Police Commissioner to support the rights of the press to cover the news and to actively promote such a policy?

A4. Yes, absolutely.

Q5. Over the last two administrations, the NYPD's Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information (DCPI) has come to be seen by many reporters and photographers as the Office of No Information or Misinformation! It wasn't always that way. Would you require your Police Commissioner to restore respect for press rights at DCPI?

A5. Yes. The job of the DCPI is to deliver public information to the press and the public, not to restrict access. A free and democratic society is only as free as the press that informs it. So long as doing so does not pose an imminent threat to public safety, my DCPI will be committed to an open and honest relationship with the city's press corps.

Q6. Despite grumbling about being responsible for issuing "press passes" (official credentials), the NYPD continues to perform that function. Those credentials state that the bearer is entitled to cross police lines wherever formed. Would you require the NYPD to rigorously follow its own stated policies and return to honoring press credentials and the privilege it bestows on news gatherers?

A6. Yes. In an Albanese administration, the NYPD will not only respect credentialed press, but streamline the credentialing process to acknowledge the fragmentation and growing diversity of media.

From: John Catsimatidis (received 6/12/2013)
Q1. Do you believe the press has a right to cover the news, and to have timely and unfettered access to documents and information that are rightly recognized to be public information? What would you do as Mayor to enforce those beliefs?

A1. I do believe the press has a right to cover the news, and to have timely and unfettered access to documents and information that are rightly recognized to be "public information." I believe myself to be the most accessible candidate in this race to the press, and as Mayor will continue to be. My administration will be the most transparent in history and the press will have unfettered access, not only to public information, but to the Mayor and agencies.

Q2. Do you believe the NYPD is required to not only honor press rights, but to protect them as well? Or do you believe the NYPD should be exempt from those requirements?

A2. I do believe that the NYPD is required to not only honor press rights, but to protect them as well. The NYPD should only be exempt as required by any public safety concerns, such as threat of terror. The NYPD, in my administration, will strike the appropriate balance between press rights and public safety.

Q3. Do you believe and support the proposition that the police do NOT have a right to arbitrarily or unreasonably interfere with the press as it tries to do its job? Do you believe that police officers that engage in such acts should be seriously sanctioned regardless of rank?

A3. I do believe and support the proposition that the police do not have a right to arbitrarily or unreasonably interfere with the press as it tries to do its job. I believe that police officers of any rank, who unreasonably or arbitrarily interfere with the press as it tries to do its job should be sanctioned according to NYPD policies and procedures.

Q4. Would you pledge to direct your Police Commissioner to support the rights of the press to cover the news and to actively promote such a policy?

A4. I would pledge to direct my Police Commissioner to support the rights of the press to cover news, and actively promote such a policy. The press is entitled to information unless its release would cause danger to the public, such as instances regarding terrorism.

Q5. Over the last two administrations, the NYPD's Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information (DCPI) has come to be seen by many reporters and photographers as the Office of No Information or Misinformation! It wasn't always that way. Would you require your Police Commissioner to restore respect for press rights at DCPI?

A5. The NYPD's Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information in my administration will accord the same respect for press rights as I have pledged to accord as Mayor. Any deviations from the NYPD's official Patrol Guide should be sanctioned according to NYPD policies and procedures.

Q6. Despite grumbling about being responsible for issuing "press passes" (official credentials), the NYPD continues to perform that function. Those credentials state that the bearer is entitled to cross police lines wherever formed. Would you require the NYPD to rigorously follow its own stated policies and return to honoring press credentials and the privilege it bestows on news gatherers?

A6. The NYPD in my administration would follow its own stated policies. Press credentials and the privileges therein will be honored as laid out in the NYPD's own stated policies.

From: John Liu (D) NYC Comptroller (received 6/21/2013)
Q1. Do you believe the press has a right to cover the news, and to have timely and unfettered access to documents and information that are rightly recognized to be public information? What would you do as Mayor to enforce those beliefs?

A1. The press serves an important function in a democratic society, disseminating information to the public so that they can make informed choices and also serving as a check upon government. The press does have the right to unfettered access to documents and information that are recognized to be public information. As Comptroller, my office has made transparency a priority and has made an unprecedented amount of information readily available to the press and public on the Comptroller's website. As Mayor, I would make sure all agencies understand the importance of providing information to the press and public in a timely manner and promptly address issues with the press and public obtaining public information.

Q2. Do you believe the NYPD is required to not only honor press rights, but to protect them as well? Or do you believe the NYPD should be exempt from those requirements?

A2. As with all City agencies, the NYPD is required to honor press rights unless doing so would jeopardize public safety and should protect the press if someone is committing a criminal act that prevents the press from doing its job.

Q3. Do you believe and support the proposition that the police do NOT have a right to arbitrarily or unreasonably interfere with the press as it tries to do its job? Do you believe that police officers that engage in such acts should be seriously sanctioned regardless of rank?

A3. Yes.

Q4. Would you pledge to direct your Police Commissioner to support the rights of the press to cover the news and to actively promote such a policy?

A4. Yes.

Q5. Over the last two administrations, the NYPD's Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information (DCPI) has come to be seen by many reporters and photographers as the Office of No Information or Misinformation! It wasn't always that way. Would you require your Police Commissioner to restore respect for press rights at DCPI?

A5. Yes. The DCPI should be setting a good example of how the NYPD works with the press to ensure the public is supplied with important information.

Q6. Despite grumbling about being responsible for issuing "press passes" (official credentials), the NYPD continues to perform that function. Those credentials state that the bearer is entitled to cross police lines wherever formed. Would you require the NYPD to rigorously follow its own stated policies and return to honoring press credentials and the privilege it bestows on news gatherers?

A6. Yes.

From: Christine Quinn (D) Speaker, NYC Council (received 6/25/2013)
Speaker Quinn chose not to answer the specific questions in our survey. She has opted instead to submit this statement:

New York Press Club:

I am fully committed to freedom of the press and to ensuring that the media has the ability to inform all New Yorkers on the many important issues facing our city. The press fulfills a critical public service that forms the foundation of public debate and serves as a watchdog to ensure the integrity of our city institutions.

Unfortunately, when news breaks it is often the result of tragedy. Our outstanding police department plays a crucial role in protecting the public at large while events are ongoing and it's also important to preserve the integrity of crime scenes during such events. Balancing these roles with the constitutionally protected rights of a free press is something I take very seriously. Under my direction, the NYPD will continue to both honor and protect the rights of a free press. I will hold accountable any officer who obstructs newsgathering and set a standard as Mayor that assures all New Yorkers that our government is operating as transparently as possible.

Indeed, the most important news affecting city policies and their implementation in the city often is not obtained simply by using a press pass but by the diligent investigation of documents by reporters. That's why, as mayor, I will ensure that public information remains accessible and easily available to reporters and the public at large. In an era of both established newspaper journalists, bloggers and citizen reporters, we must work to ensure democratic access to information. As part of my ongoing efforts toward a more transparent City Hall I would work to put as much information online as possible through outlets like MyCityHall.gov.

Police officers in the NYPD's Deputy Commissioner for Public Information play a crucial role in ensuring that press gets their story and informs the broader public. Our city is the media capital of the world and home to many of the world's great newspapers. There is a tradition of free press and vigorous debate in our city's history and I am committed to ensuring this continues under my term as mayor.

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