Journalist 'manhandled' by FCC security guards

Amelia Krales

Journalists impeded from their appointed rounds of asking questions of public officials is a sore point with journalists, particularly given the President's attitude toward journalists and the recent arrest of a West Virginia reporter for asking questions of an Administration official.

According to the statement, CQ Roll Call reporter John Donnelly questioned FCC commissioners after a press conference.

Donnelly, a senior writer at CQ Roll Call, said he was trying to talk with FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly one-on-one after a news conference when two plainclothes guards pinned him against a wall with the backs of their bodies.

"One of the guards, Frederick Bucher, asked Donnelly why he had not posed his question during the press conference".

"We apologized to Mr. Donnelly a few times and let him know that the FCC was on heightened alert. based on several threats", FCC spokesman Brian Hart said in a statement.

"It wasn't as if I appeared in any way to be threatening, but the security guards made a decision to press me up against the wall, as if I committed a crime", Donnelly said.

The FCC was on heightened alert Thursday because of the passions surrounding net neutrality, a high-profile issue that spurred about 4 million people to file public comments with the agency when it last considered the rules in 2014-15. "I positioned myself in a place where I could ask a question ... and if somebody in an official capacity in Washington doesn't want to answer a question from a reporter, all they do is smile and say, 'Have a nice day, ' and walk on".

Donnelly tweeted about the incident Thursday, and an account of the incident was also released by the National Press Club, where Donnelly serves as the chairman of the group's "Press Freedom Team".

Pitching questions to public officials in public areas after a press conference is standard practice for reporters who cover government. The agency apologized and restored his credentials. NPC President Jeff Ballou condemned the security guards' actions.

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"I was told they did not know who I was, but it was clear I had a press pass, I had a tape reporter, a notebook and a pencil", Donnelly told CNNMoney.

Ironically, the incident came at a meeting where FCC Chairman Ajit Pai went out of his way to praise the FCC security guards-it is National Police Week.

Bucher did not respond to an email request for comment on Friday.

"If you see something, say something: in print, online or over the air".

"We apologized to Mr. Donnelly a few times and let him know that the FCC was on heightened alert [that day] based on several threats", spokesperson Brian Hart said in a statement.

"I was a commissioner".

From behind the two security guards, Donnelly began asking O'Rielly a question anyway. I wanted to ask questions one-on-one.

Donnelly recalled the incident in an interview with Mic.

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