|Regarding issues of disaster coverage and "freedom of the press", and how they may be impacted by common sense and one's own moral scruples, it's worth returning to the source and studying the basics; the actual First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
It does not say that there are no limits to our rights of free speech and self-expression. It says that the Federal government cannot make laws that abridge our freedom of speech. The supreme court has held that all branches of the Federal government are therefore obliged to respect that freedom by not curtailing it. This would include FEMA, which by established law cannot tell us what we are allowed to photograph or not photograph. The only exceptions to our "freedom to observe, document, and report", from a Federal perspective, would be in situations that impact national security.
Of course, a lot of wool is pulled over the peoples' eyes in the name of "national security", and always has been. Remember Nixon (and others) refusing to hand over papers/tapes from the Oval Office under that justification? But I digress...
This fundamental, constitutional freedom of ours is the main reason why so many of us view the Patriot Act" as an insidiously dangerous thing, because it gives the government broad powers to ignore the constitution in pursuit of "public safety". But again I digress.
An interesting conflict arises when you realize that the same amendment says the government will make no law regarding an establishment of religion. So the courts have held that allowing prayer in the schools is tantamount to "making a law" in the same sense that FEMA refusing to allow photographers access is "making a law", and yet it would seem that the right of free speech would mandate that the government NOT forbid prayer in public schools. Or do religious people not have this right? It's complicated. But again, I digress...
In any event, NONE of this has anything to do with, say, rights of property. I am under no obligation to allow you so-called "free speech" in my house, or in my shop, or in my car, or indeed ever; as an individual not employed by or regulated by the Federal government, I am not required to respect your right to free speech at all. If I try to stop you from saying what you want to say, for example, by "censoring" your posts in this forum (assuming I had the power to do this, which SC does but I do not) this is NOT a free speech issue in the sense that what happens in this forum is in no way regulated by the Constitution of the United States.
I believe I'm digressing again... I believe I'll stop now. I can't even remember what my original point was, except that it's related tot he fact that it seems to me that a lot of people (I'm not pointing fingers here, I haven't even READ half the posts in this thread) don't really know what they're talking about when they discuss "freedom of the press" and "free speech". These are very complex issues, not cut-and-dried at all.
For the record, I believe reporters and photographers should not be hindered in any way beyond common-sense rules regarding safety and non-interference with rescue efforts as they attempt to document this immense disaster.