Another factor contributing to the challenges for police and media is the question of defining who is a journalist in an age when everyone has a camera in their cellphone. In New York in particular, a battle has taken place over police credentialing of journalists from non-traditional news outlets.

However, journalists who do have the NYPD press pass can face a different set of problems. Muncy, the photographer, said a plainclothes police officer took him aside on Tuesday and threatened to cancel his police-issued press credential for running into the street while taking photos.

“Those press passes, they’re like big targets on your chest, you know—it’s one more thing that can be used against you,” he said. Police will threaten, “get out of here or we take your card.”

Jared Malsin is a freelance journalist based in Cairo