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NYC-based Photojournalist Claims Coal Mining Company Bars Her Reporting

Jessica Lee Mar 24, 2009

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press wrote March 23 that a New York City-based photojournalist working in West Virginia claims a restraining order issued at the request of a mining company there is infringing on her right to report on a brewing local controversy.

Antrim Caskey, a photographer based in New York, and five environmental activists were hit with the restraining order last month after trespassing on property owned by Massey Energy Co.

Caskey told the Reporters Committee she had been reporting on the controversial mountaintop removal activity there since 2005 and started covering Climate Ground Zero, a group that includes some of the cited activists, in 2008.

According to the complaint that led to the restraining order, Caskey was photographing protesters James McGuiness and Michael Roselle on Feb. 3 as they formed a human roadblock on Massey property. Security officials informed the three that they were trespassing on private grounds, but they refused to leave, leading state police to issue misdemeanor trespassing citations, the complaint said. Massey says this is the third such trespassing incident for the trio in less than a month.

Reporters generally are subject to the same laws and guidelines that determine where any member of the public can go. Thus, the court’s order prohibits Caskey, the activists, and “all other persons allied, associated … or acting in concert with them” from mining properties affiliated with A.T. Massey Coal Company, Inc. and Massey Energy Co., the country’s fourth-largest coal company.

To read the entire article, click here.

Antrim Caskey is a long-time contributor to The Indypendent.

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