Following the weekend arrest of Nashville Scene reporter Jonathan Meador while covering the Occupy Nashville protest, SouthComm CEO Chris Ferrell says in a statement that he expects a public apology from the governor of Tennessee:
I expect the Governor to publicly apologize to him for this violation of his rights and to assure the people of Tennessee that this administration will not interfere with the right to a free press that has been a fundamental right in this country since our founding. I’m sure you understand that every media outlet in this country will vigorously defend our right to cover government action without fear of arrest or reprisal.
Meador managed to capture the incident on video, and while he was later charged with public intoxication, the audio portion indicates otherwise.
“What you will hear, very clearly, is a trooper telling another officer to book Meador for resisting arrest,” writes Scene editor Jim Ridley. “What you will not hear, in any form or fashion, is the slightest mention of public intoxication.”
According to the Nashville City Paper (which is also owned by SouthComm), state troopers issued criminal trespassing and public intoxication citations only after a night court judge rejected the state’s authority to enforce a curfew on the plaza where the protesters were arrested.