SEATTLE — A journalist on assignment for InvestigateWest to cover protests outside the United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen was arrested today as he photographed demonstrators trying to shut down Copenhagen’s harbor.
Christopher Crow of Bellingham was taken into custody by police, who also arrested about 275 demonstrators. He was taken away in a police van along with protesters. Copenhagen police are empowered under a new law to hold demonstrators for up to 12 hours without filing charges. Crow was released after 3 ½ hours without any charges being filed.
“This is an outrageous affront to the freedom of the press. Reporters are obligated to cover civil disturbances like the prostests in Copenhagen, and police who arrest journalists are violating their human rights,” said Rita Hibbard, InvestigateWest editor and executive director. “Christopher and InvestigateWest are owed an apology by the Danish authorities and we will be filing a formal protest.”
The officers took Crow away despite his colleagues’ protest that he was only carrying out his duty as a journalist to document the unrest in the streets. Demonstrators are angry about an emerging United Nations treaty that would allow some companies to profit from fighting climate change.
InvestigateWest correspondent Alexander Kelly covered the arrest for the Seattle-based news organization’s website at http://bit.ly/8FK2qd.
Kelly, InvestigateWest photographer Mark Malijan and InvestigateWest videographer Blair Kelly also were covering the protest, but were able to get away before police moved in wielding batons and police dogs to make arrests.
Crow, Kelly and other members of the InvestigateWest team in Copenhagen available for interviews via Skype. Chief environmental correspondent Robert McClure, who is editing the Copenhagen coverage, is available for phone or in-person interviews.
InvestigateWest is a non-profit investigative journalism organization based in Seattle. Its journalists are working to modernize investigative and in-depth journalism, focusing on the environment, public health and social justice in western North America, with a particular emphasis on the Pacific Northwest. InvestigateWest also offers a daily environmental blog, Dateline Earth, that covers a wide range of environmental issues around the globe, frequently including news about climate change.