Wednesday, May 30, 2012

ABC 7 News Releases Video Clip: Chicago Police NATO Communications

ABC Channel 7 (WLS-TV) has released a video reporting on Chicago Police NATO Communications. Before Shortwave America presents that, it is important that a specific issue be covered here first. 

Apparently, lots of people are whining and crying that Shortwave America is a "terrorist" information source that spouts "anti-police" rhetoric, and gives away sensitive police communications information.  Specifically, this seems to be just a few of the people at a popular Chicago Police blog that cannot be named here due to the offensive name on the blog.

Shortwave America is a legitimate radio journalism website and audio program focused on RADIO COMMUNICATIONS. That is the whole point of this operation, to bring the public news and information about amateur radio, shortwave broadcast, HF Single-Sideband, and other radio related items.

NATO 2012 was an event covered by countless media outlets and those media outlets include independent writers / journalists (freelancers), independent media organizations, non-profit organizations, main stream media, etc. Many independent reporters own their own operations, however small or large they might be. The first amendment and public records acts cover the right of a person to report on anything they wish, so long as they are not actually telling people to commit harm or commit crime.

The courts nationwide have upheld a reporter's rights to present items that are of public interest, hold political, social, and / or artistic value, as well as items that are publicly newsworthy. Unencrypted radio traffic is not deserving of protection per the United States Federal Communications Commission, and especially that unencrypted radio traffic that can easily be obtained by several means ranging from freedom of information act requests, to I-Phone Apps, Internet Streaming of public safety radio, radio receivers known as "scanners", amateur radio equipment, word of mouth, by walking next to or standing by a police officer or other public safety employee with a radio that is openly audible, and real time media reports.

If it can be obtained on tape or other media storage by FOIA request, and then be subsequently published once a person has their hands on it, then there is no problem with reporting in real time because the recording will only serve as confirmation of what was reported on.   

A Chicago journalist named "Timmy" runs his own operation under the name of "Avondale and Logan Square Crime Blotter" in which he reveals radio traffic from several police districts on a daily basis. The community lauds "Timmy" as a hero for keeping the community up to date on criminal activity and beat meetings. Timmy has had to fight for his First Amendment right to publish as he sees fit as a way of giving back to the community.

Shortwave America gives back to the community on an international basis by publishing written and audio works relevant to radio, and that includes major events if and when command and communications traffic is known to be available. The public has a vested interest in staying informed of what is happening around them for their own safety and well-being. Reportage of everyday government activities and major special event related government activities serves as a check and balance of the people. "Originally, the First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by the Congress. However, starting with Gitlow v. New York, the Supreme Court has applied the First Amendment to each state. This was done through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment." - Wikipedia.

Freedom of the press

In Lovell v. City of Griffin, 303 U.S. 444 (1938), Chief Justice Hughes defined the press as, "every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion."[86] Freedom of the press, like freedom of speech, is subject to restrictions on bases such as defamation law.

In Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665 (1972), the Court ruled that the First Amendment did not give a journalist the right to refuse a subpoena from a grand jury. The issue decided in the case was whether a journalist could refuse to "appear and testify before state and Federal grand juries" basing the refusal on the belief that such appearance and testimony "abridges the freedom of speech and press guaranteed by the First Amendment."[87] The 5–4 decision was that such a protection was not provided by the First Amendment. (From WIKIPEDIA)

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." - First Amendment, United States Bill of Rights.

That having been said, here is the ABC 7 video: