Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Reporter says he was roughed up by security guards at FCC

Reporter says he was roughed up by security guards at FCC

Throughout the FCC meeting, the security guards had shadowed Donnelly as if he were a security threat, he said, even though he continuously displayed his congressional press pass and held a tape recorder and notepad.

A reporter who covers the Federal Communications Commission says he was physically blocked by two guards from asking questions of FCC officials after a news conference this week and then forced out of the agency's headquarters in Southwest D.C.

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.

When contacted by Ars today, an FCC spokesperson said, "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". The NPC statement notes that while officials don't have to answer, "reporters can ask questions in any area of a public building that is not marked off as restricted to them". "Officials who are fielding the questions don't have to answer", he said. He said, "Donnelly was doing his job and doing it with his characteristic civility". Donnelly told WTOP he waited to ask his question, because he was working on another story that wasn't the subject of the conference.

Ironically, the incident came at a meeting where FCC Chairman Ajit Pai went out of his way to praise the FCC security guards-it is National Police Week.

According to a press release, Donnelly was given the heave-ho on Thursday when he asked a question when commissioners weren't in front of a podium.

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"We apologized to Mr. Donnelly a couple of times and let him know that the FCC was on heightened alert [that day] based on several threats", spokesperson Brian Hart said in a statement.

Bucher had another confrontation with a journalist last summer.

"If you see something, say something: in print, online or over the air".

Bucher did not respond to an email request for comment on Friday.

"I was a commissioner".

"I thought they were just doing it to prevent anyone from getting too close to the commissioners, which I would understand as a security measure, " Donnelly told Mic. "Particularly when we're at our place of business and doing the public's work, it shouldn't surprise us when the press asks us questions. That's what I want: I want to make sure that they have a climate over there and a culture that is open basically to the First Amendment", he said. In recent months, he reportedly urged now-fired FBI Director James Comey to jail reporters who publish leaks, and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, caught on a hot mic at a Coast Guard graduation ceremony, jokingly suggested earlier this week that the president could use a saber he received on the press.

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