The Federal Communications Commission headquarters was the scene of a reporter being shoved against a wall by two guards on Tuesday. As journalist John Donnelly approached FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, a Republican political operative tapped by then-President Barack Obama to lead the agency in 2013, guards forcibly removed the reporter to prevent him from posing his query, according to the National Press Club.
This isn’t the first instance of the FCC harassing journalists. A Bloomberg News reporter told Donnelly on Thursday that he had his press pass stripped after interviewing a protester outside the FCC. The agency later apologized and returned the reporter’s credentials.
“I could not have been less threatening or more polite,” Donnelly said in a statement to the NPC.
— John M. Donnelly (@johnmdonnelly) May 18, 2017
“There is no justification for using force in such a situation,” the CQ Roll Call reporter added.
During the FCC meeting, Donnelly said he was “shadowed” around the building by security personnel, who even waited for him outside a bathroom while he used the facilities. This despite his displayed press credentials. His other possessions included a tape recorder and notepad.
— Rev.Paperboy (@revpaperboy) May 18, 2017
“Hands off reporters!” National Press Club President Barbara Cochran said. The NPC has demanded the FCC apologize to Donnelly, “and ensure that their guards are trained to respect the rights of journalists to cover FCC public events.”
The FCC commissioner said on Twitter, “I didn’t see anyone put a hand on you. I’m sorry this occurred.”
— Troy Reeb (@troyreebglobal) May 18, 2017