Many independent journalists found themselves under arrest and facing charges for covering the Republican National Convention last month. Happily, charges for most of these media professionals were dropped. The news isn’t so pleasing for Jason Nicholas, an independent photographer who was working the RNC for the New York Post. The photojournalist, as I write this, still sits in his cell at Rikers Island in New York for a parole violation — he left town to work — and faces at least a year in prison. And the obstruction charges thrown at him for doing his job are making it difficult for him to win his freedom.
Reporters Without Borders is speaking out and calling for clemency:
Jason Nicholas is scheduled for another parole hearing in front of an administrative judge on October 15th. He was one of over 40 journalists arrested while covering the Republican National Convention on September 1st. While most charges against other journalists in St.Paul have been dropped, Mr. Nicholas has not yet been cleared of obstruction to the legal process.
“These pending charges are hurting his chances of being restored to parole” commented his lawyer Wylie Stecklow. “Jason is a remarkable example of successful rehabilitation. He did not break his parole with any intention to commit a criminal act. He was at the Convention working, which is actually a positive thing. The violation should be seen as a technical one and the penalty should reflect that. Otherwise, the publics’ faith in the true integrity of the correctional and parole systems would be jeopardized. ”
“The fact that Jason Nicholas didn’t have the appropriate paperwork to travel to another state is not a sufficient reason to send him to jail. To be able to carry out his work, a journalist needs to be able to travel freely. At the end of the day, it is absurd that Jason Nicholas would be imprisoned for the very activity that confirms its full reintegration to society” stated Reporters Without Borders.
via Reporters Without Borders/Reporters Sans Frontières: MJournalist Arrrested during RNC Faces at Least a Year in Prison for Parole Violation