image: Toby Oxborrow (no photo graphic) & US Coast Guard (controlled burn of oil spill)
Stories about BP contractors working hand in glove with the Coast Guard and local police to prevent full coverage of the effects of the oil spill have been coming out for some time now--and don't seem to be going away. Newsweek reports that everyone from traditional and independent journalists and photojournalists to Jean-Michel Cousteau have been denied access--they've even go so far to establish no-fly zones. Here's the latest (and to me one of the most infuriating examples):
The latest instance of denied press access comes from Belle Chasse, La.-based Southern Seaplane Inc., which was scheduled to take a New Orleans Times-Picayune photographer for a flyover on Tuesday afternoon, and says it was denied permission once BP officials learned that a member of the press would be on board.
"We are not at liberty to fly media, journalists, photographers, or scientists," the company said in a letter it sent on Tuesday to Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). "We strongly feel that the reason for this massive [temporary flight restriction] is that BP wants to control their exposure to the press."
You can justify limiting access on the ground over legitimate safety concerns, too many people causing interference with cleanup efforts, etc.; and the article does quote a photographer saying that the Coast Guard at times has been very helpful--indeed, if only indirectly I can second that; if it weren't for Coast Guard photos TreeHugger would be coming up short on imagery of the cleanup.
However, limiting people from flying over the spill?!? Utterly ridiculous.
It May Be BP's Oil But It's Everyone's Disaster
The article also quotes one fishermen who says he understands BP's restrictions, saying, "If there was a major fire in a warehouse, would you let reporters go inside and start taking pictures?"
Fair enough, but if that fire starts spreading the street, to the public park, and onto the neighboring town the owner of the warehouse doesn't get to say you can't go there too. The warehouse may be their's but the fire itself and the damage it causes is everyone's.
Read more: Photographers Say BP Restricts Access to Oil Spill
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More on the BP Oil Spill:
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