Last Thursday, we told you about the newest anti-paparazzi bill to hit the California State Assembly. Focused on expanding the definition of harassment, SB 606 was drafted for the specific purpose of protecting the children of celebrities — some hollywood actresses have already spoken out in support of the bill.
As with many a legal mater, however, not everyone is in favor of the bill. While most would agree that protecting children from being harassed by paparazzi is a worthy goal, the NPPA is now officially speaking out against SB 606, warning the public that this bill’s vague wording “threatens first amendment rights.” Read more…
Vice President Joe Biden’s press secretary has apologized to a student reporter at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism’s Capital News Service after the journalist was forced to delete photographs he shot at a domestic violence event featuring Biden and other politicians.
The US Department of Justice issued a statement this past Sunday that confirms the fact that the 1st, 4th, and 14th Amendment protect citizens’ rights to photograph police in public places.
Earlier we reported on two separate cases where video evidence of police shot by random citizens wound up being crucial in the exoneration of photographers arrested while doing their job. Well, appropriately enough, the US Department of Justice just recently came out in defense of the right to record police while they are on duty. Read more…
After being arrested on October 1, 2007 for using his cell phone to film officers making an arrest, Boston lawyer Simon Glik sued the city for violating his civil rights. Late last year the court denied a motion to have the case dismissed, and just yesterday it was announced that the City of Boston had come to a settlement with Glik, agreeing to pay him $170,000 for damages and legal fees. The decision last year and the settlement yesterday both reaffirm that the First Amendment protects the right to photograph and film police officers carrying out their duties in a public place.
(via ACLU via Ars Technica)
Image credit: cop snapping pics with cellphone by SpecialKRB
Boston lawyer Simon Glik was arrested on October 1, 2007 when he used his cell phone to record officers making a drug arrest, and later sued the city and the officers for violating his rights. After the officers tried to having the lawsuit dismissed on the basis of qualified immunity, a Federal Appeals Court denied the motion last week and ruled that filming and photographing police is in fact protected by the First Amendment. They also note that the rights extend not just to professional news gatherers, but ordinary citizens as well:
[...] changes in technology and society have made the lines between private citizen and journalist exceedingly difficult to draw. The proliferation of electronic devices with video-recording capability means that many of our images of current events come from bystanders with a ready cell phone or digital camera rather than a traditional film crew, and news stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her computer as a reporter at a major newspaper. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.
This is great news for photographers’ rights (in the United States, at least).
Opinion No. 10-176 (via UniversalHUB via A Photo Editor)
Image credit: gavel by s_falkow