Outrage over FEMA not allowing camp residents to speak freely to press

From Scout:

Politicians and the Society of Professional Journalists are expressing outrage over FEMA not allowing residents in FEMA camps to speak freely with the press. ( see earlier post) Here are some quotes

From U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-Kenner

“You don’t lose your fundamental rights just because you’re living in temporary housing. It’s an outrageous pattern of behavior.”

“How in the world can you stop someone in their home from talking to whomever they want?” Jindal asked. “It’s a freedom of speech issue; it’s a freedom of association issue.”

“To try and defend the behavior and say that was FEMA policy added insult to injury,” he said. “FEMA should have apologized and tried to rectify the situation.”

“This wasn’t FEMA protecting her,” Jindal said. “This was FEMA harassing her. There’s no excuse for it.”

From Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville

“These people are not incarcerated; they’re not crooks,” he said. “There’s no reason why the press or anyone else shouldn’t be able to talk to these folks if they want to talk.”

From Rep. Charles W. Boustany, R-Lafayette

“This seems to be a clear case of arrogance coupled with incompetence and that’ s not a good combination,” Boustany said. “I don’t think the heavy hand of government should be telling people what they can and can’t do in that regard.”

The Society of Professional Journalists sent a letter to the director of FEMA…

“On behalf of the Society of Professional Journalists, we are writing to express outrage at the treatment given to residents of FEMA parks in Louisiana and the journalists trying to report their stories,” the two wrote.

“We are outraged by the arrogance and contempt for public discourse on display in Louisiana, a year after FEMA’s performance in the wake of Katrina earned it widespread criticism,” the letter says. “Now FEMA is banning reporters from public property as reporters try to provide scrutiny of the agency.

“We fail to see how such journalism is anything but the very sort of newsgathering for which the First Amendment was created,” the letter says.

The letter requests that FEMA review “the constitutionality of any policy that dictates when and how those affected by FEMA’s work may speak to the press.”

“Receipt of FEMA aid should not mean that citizens leave their constitutional rights behind,” the letter concludes.

(h/t to Blagueur)