BRN isn’t taking NYPD’s denial of press credentials lying down – it has filed suit in the New York Federal District Court, protesting the sudden turndown after 40 years of receiving normal accreditation.
The complaint listed Jay Levy and Diane Levy as plaintiffs, and said they were owners, editors and writers with BRN. They said the company writes news of interest to Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and women.
“It appears the standard now used by the NYPD to deny the vital press credentials of Black Radio Network differs from the standard applied to non-minority oriented media,” declared BRN attorney Earl Ward. “The facts speak for themselves.”
“We have waited more than a year to have our credentials renewed so that we can cover New York news, in our own style, on a equal footing with other media companies,” added BRN president and news director Jay Levy. “We have held up the worldwide distribution of our daily Minority News report at blackradionetwork.com until such time as we gain the renewal of our working press credentials by the NYPD. In my more than 50 years in the New York news business, I never witnessed such discriminatory treatment by the NYPD.”
In the filing, BRN speculates that perhaps its move from print to online distribution was a factor. But it notes that NYPD issues discretionary credentials, and routinely grants them to reporters who do not expressly cover the types of disasters and crime scenes that are routinely placed off limits for citizens while responders do their work.
For example, Roger Ailes of Fox News is accredited by NYPD – BRN doubts that he ever has need to cross the yellow tape to report on a story or gather video or audio documentation. They also note a local political reporter and a local television meteorologist who received credentials, even though they too would seemingly seldom if ever be called upon to report from a crime or disaster scene.
The lawsuit claims that BRN’s First Amendment rights are being abridged, and asks for both relief and monetary compensation for damages.