What's Next ... "Free Reporting Zones"? → Washingtons Blog
What's Next ... "Free Reporting Zones"? - Washingtons Blog

Monday, July 12, 2010

What's Next ... "Free Reporting Zones"?

The government has made it a felony to get within 65 feet of clean-up operations. Reporters and photographers - including CNN's Anderson Cooper - say that this will make it impossible to take pictures of oiled wildlife, or to accurately convey the effects of the oil spill.

Coast Guard Thad Allen says that local officials have complained that journalists are getting in the way. But no one can name a single official who has complained.

Apologists for the new law say that photographers can simply use a telephoto lense to get the shots.

But as the following photographs by Julie Dermansky show, you can only get emotionally powerful pictures if you can get right up close to the oil:

Dead fish on Grand Isle by jsdart.

(Dead fish on Grand Isle)

hermit crabs under oil sheen by jsdart.

(Hermit crabs covered in oil on the shore of Grand Terre Island in Barataria Bay)

Baby tern with minows left by its' mother by jsdart.

(Baby tern stuck in an oil patch on Grand Isle beach, with nearby fish abandoned by the bird's mother)

BP oil on the Gulf of Mexico by jsdart.

(Oil on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, blocking sunlight needed by phytoplankton and plants)

Oil on Alabama beach by jsdart.

(Oil flowing into the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, in Alabama; the white stuff is sand, the thick reddish-brown stuff is oil)

And see this must-see photo from the Atlantic's story on Dermansky, this photo, and the rest of Dermansky's portfolio here.

Indeed, preventing reporters and photographers from getting close to the oil spill is a little like forcing protesters into "free speech zones" miles from where the political event is actually occurring.

Is the government going to start having "free reporting zones" where journalists can write about whatever they want and photographers can take any pictures they want ... inside a trailer miles away from the Gulf coast?


→ Thank you for contributing to the conversation by commenting. We try to read all of the comments (but don't always have the time).

→ If you write a long comment, please use paragraph breaks. Otherwise, no one will read it. Many people still won't read it, so shorter is usually better (but it's your choice).

→ The following types of comments will be deleted if we happen to see them:

-- Comments that criticize any class of people as a whole, especially when based on an attribute they don't have control over

-- Comments that explicitly call for violence

→ Because we do not read all of the comments, I am not responsible for any unlawful or distasteful comments.