Sunday, January 11, 2009

Norm Siegel Wins Big Victory for Bloggers. 3 Are Granted Police Credentials

Norm_Siegel Norman Siegel, former head of the New York Civil Liberties Union who rode to notoriety as a local civil rights and free speech advocate, has become a knight in shining armor for bloggers.

Lawyer Siegel [photo], who will run for Public Advocate this year, represented three bloggers who said they were unfairly turned down for the police department-issued i.d.'s.

Normally, the New York City Police Department issues those cards (of which there are, actually, two types, but that's besides the point here) to reporters for major newspapers and TV and radio stations.

One of the three happy bloggers, Rafael Martínez Alequin, wrote a post on his blog YourFreePress, which he does on blogspot.

Martínez Alequin, on his website, pays homage to the rising blogosphere of which he is a denizen and (now) a hero:

"The Internet in just a few short years has put newspapers on their own obit page and elected a president. Most Americans today receive their news over the Internet; where a guy in his manhattan apartment can compete on the internet with old line institutions of journalism."

The only thing we'd add is that the above-mentioned Manhattan apartment could be in Brooklyn.

The other two bloggers savoring the sweet taste of victory are David Wallis and Ralph E. Smith. Wallis's blog is Featurewell and Smith's is The Guardian Chronicle.

Siegel has said this chapter in his federal law suit against the city has ended, but the struggle continues against police restrictions on who does and does not receive police credentials.

The higher level credentials allow reporters to cross police lines; the lower tier ones simply identify the person as a recognized representative of the media. The Three Musketeers of the Blogosphere received the latter ones, but they seem satisfied, for now.

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