Reporter says he was roughed up by security guards at FCC

Reporter says he was roughed up by security guards at FCC

Reporter says he was roughed up by security guards at FCC

A journalist said he was pinned against the wall by security guards and forced to leave the Federal Communications Commission headquarters after he tried to question an FCC commissioner after a news conference. "I want to know that the next reporter who goes there to ask a question of an official is not going to be treated like this".

CQ Roll Call reporter John Donnelly, who is chairman of the National Press Club's Press Freedom Team and president of the Military Reporters & Editors association, "said he ran afoul of plainclothes security personnel at the FCC when he tried to ask commissioners questions when they were not in front of the podium at a scheduled press conference", The National Press Club reported.

"There is no justification for using force in such a situation", the CQ Roll Call reporter added.

Former FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani, who now works for a group that supports the tough net neutrality regulations the agency began to dismantle on Thursday, said she and other people were not allowed to sit in vacated chairs in the public section of the room during the meeting. Frederick Bucher, one of the guards, asked Donnelly why he didn't ask his question during the news conference before forcing him to leave to building.

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"When Donnelly strolled in an unthreatening way toward FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly to pose a question, two guards pinned Donnelly against the wall with the backs of their bodies until O'Rielly had passed", the report said. Bucher then asked Donnelly to exit the building, with the implication he'd be willing to use force if he didn't oblige, Donnelly said.

"Donnelly was doing his job and doing it with his characteristic civility, " Ballou said in a statement. "We apologized to Mr. Donnelly a couple of times and let him know that the FCC was on heightened alert today based on several threats", an FCC spokesperson told the Washington Post.

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From behind the two security guards, Donnelly began asking O'Rielly a question anyway.

"I saw security put themselves between you, me and my staff".

The FCC commissioner said on Twitter, "I didn't see anyone put a hand on you. I'm sorry [this] occurred", O'Rielly wrote.

The incident comes at a time of growing and undisguised hostility toward the press in the upper ranks of government.

"I could not have been less threatening or more polite", Donnelly said in the National Press Club release.

"He didn't say anything - he just looked at me, and then he looked at them, and it seemed like he was perfectly fine with what was going on", he said.

Barbara Cochran, president of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, concurred. A journalist was arrested in February while covering the Dakota Access pipeline protests near Standing Rock reservation, one of many journalists who have been arrested at Standing Rock.

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