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article imageLouisiana deputies use photo of reporter for target practice

By AndrĂ© R. Gignac     Mar 12, 2012 in Odd News
Louisiana - The International Press Institute (IPI) has asked a Louisiana sheriff to respond "with the utmost seriousness" to the use, by his deputies, of a reporter's photograph for their target practice.
While the United States rightly condemns other countries for their lack of protection of journalists who are threatened, beaten or killed because they've published opinions or articles denouncing shady practices, it does not mean that everything is rosy in the country of freedom.
WVUE-TV reporter Lee Zurik would have been right to fear for his life after deputies in St. Bernard Parish used -- more than once -- a photo of his face for target practice at a department shooting range earlier this year. The journalist had previously reported on alleged voter fraud by the sheriff's employees.
According to an Alert published by the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFXE), on March 1 outgoing sheriff Jack Stevens apologized to Lee Zurik and assured him his deputies had no ill will toward him. Stevens said he would change the department's policy on use of photographs at the shooting range, but he declined to initiate disciplinary action.
The International Press Institute Press Freedom Manager Anthony Mills was not pleased: "This action, even if in jest, raises grave questions about deputies' attitudes towards the media. The St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Department needs to treat the issue with the utmost seriousness...".
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