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News media took refuge in the Ferguson Market and Liquor parking lot for the first night of curfew in Ferguson. From there they could see movement, the launching of gas canons, the large group of protesters but not much else.
There were few journalists that braved moving closer to the action, but majority of them were nestled comfortably (if you consider being cold, tired, and wet from rain comfortable) inside the media staging area. As people may know, the first amendment reads:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
People of the press were informed by officers that once they left the media staging area they could not re-enter. They were also informed, if caught outside of media staging area during curfew they would not be exempt from consequences.
Lots of people responded through social media to the media arrangement and felt journalists were not exercising their right to the first amendment.
All of the journalists who are covering Ferguson are courageous because they risk their safety and freedom to report news even if it is from inside a ‘media pen.’ There were several gun shots fired that early morning that could have reached a field journalist that was observing curfew.
Media is doing the best they can with the tools they have. One should not knock them for using a precautions.