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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

#Alert Illegal And Deadly Dangerous Press Restrictions Put In Place By Rim Fire Management #CaFire #CaLaw #CivilRights

 CAL. PEN. CODE § 409.5 : California Code - Section 409.5(d) Nothing in this section shall prevent a duly authorized representative of any news service, newspaper, or radio or television station or network from entering the areas closed pursuant to this section. 

Below is a sample of the of the illegal and harassment imposed on the media, This document should not be required nor signed by anyone to require it of the press is simply extrajudicial.

AP photographers to the local newspaper reporter have been threatened with arrest and humiliated at checkpoints, the complaints generally focus on the Forest Federal Law Enforcement officers at roadblocks but also include local police such as Sacramento Pd officers working for OES, County Sheriff personal and California Highway Patrol.

When Police at  checkpoint require a press vehicle to be left at roadside and photographer to hike into an active fire area without transportation and other safety & communications gear the humiliation and civil rights obstruction ends and the outrageous, dangerous police instruction becomes deadly!

California Law requires unrestricted access to emergency incidents

More info at this story in the RecordNet:
Restrictions put media at odds with fire officials

Yes, you looked at stunning photographs of the Rim Fire from Record contributor Al Golub the past few weeks. And if you watched News 10 (and other Sacramento television stations), you saw incredible and sometimes heartbreaking video.
But this column is about the Rim Fire you didn't see.
It's not that the fire and the homes it threatened were hard to reach. It's just that in recent memory, local journalists have never had more government restrictions in trying to cover and photograph a fire.
I wouldn't be making an issue of this if not for the "locals." It's incredibly rewarding, while covering fires or floods, when people tell you how much they appreciate the information and pictures you share. These are the people making decisions about their homes and lives based on the information you're gathering because journalists have "special" access.
What's that mean? Legitimate news agencies (such as The Record and News 10) are allowed access by state law (California Penal Code 409.5) to fires and other natural disaster. As long as we don't block emergency agencies from reaching those scenes, we're allowed to come and go as we please.
Why? It's because we have the ability to pass along important information that can benefit people with homes or other interests in those areas. Does that mean every news employee can go wherever he or she wants, without regard to those agencies that are dealing with emergencies?
Of course not. If journalists somehow put emergency workers in danger or if they block exit routes with their vehicles or if they're not properly protected with emergency clothing, they can and should be kept out. I can guarantee 99 percent of the journalists in the Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto region are willing to play by those rules, but during the Rim fire, the rules were broken by the government.
The Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department, CalFire, the U.S. Forest Service and the CHP all established or maintained unreasonable barriers that prohibited journalists from gathering information about the Rim Fire, where it was burning, and where it was likely to go.
They will tell you they allowed access as long as a news crew parked outside the barriers and walked to the fire. That's exactly what I did two Fridays ago when I parked about 2 miles from homes in Pine Mountain Lake, and then walked with photo equipment to the story.
But that prohibited us from having our full equipment to do our jobs and actually increased the danger to us since we were without vehicles in potentially dangerous situations. In that neighborhood of wide, two lane streets, there was ample room for journalists to do their jobs without getting in the way of fire crews.

Those restrictions were unreasonable, unnecessary and arbitrary.
The photographer I work with described it best: Imagine driving to work one morning and being told you're not allowed to get there because a fire or police official has determined it's too dangerous.
You look ahead, behind and to the sides of you and see no danger and you promise to be careful and retreat if the danger presents itself. You're told no and then told you're "arrestable" if you don't follow those instructions.
Remember, there's a state law that allows you to go forward, but apparently the law doesn't apply anymore.
Those photos from Al Golub and that video from News 10 and other stations were remarkable. If police and fire officials (federal, state and local) had followed the access rules, the images and information would have been even more useful to the people who needed it the most.
Reporter Tim Daly is a news reporter/fill-in anchor based in the News 10 San Joaquin Valley newsroom. Record editor Mike Klocke's column returns next week.



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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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