The Committee To Protect Journalists Monday called on authorities to explain why a no-fly zone was created over Ferguson, Mo., during the August unrest over the death of an unarmed teenager at the hands of police.
The Associated Press reported over the weekend on recorded phone conversations between officials and the FAA in which AP says an FAA manager said the request by St. Louis County Police had been to keep the media out.
In the Aug. 12 recordings, an FAA manager says St. Louis law enforcement "did not care if you ran commercial traffic through this TFR (temporary flight restriction) all day long. They didn't want media in there," the AP reported.
AP reported that FCC officials modified the restrictions but in a way that the press would not know it could fly helicopters.
"It has already been documented that St. Louis police officers seriously impeded the work of the media on the ground trying to cover events in Ferguson in August. Using federal authorities to do so from the air as well would represent a serious press freedom violation," said Carlos Lauría, CPJ's senior program coordinator for the Americas, in a statement.
"Authorities must respond to and explain these recordings and allegations."