Literally every day, someone is being arrested for doing nothing more than taking a photograph in a public place. It makes no sense to me. Photography is an expression of free speech.
Since 9/11, there’s been an incredible number of incidents where photographers are being interfered with and arrested for doing nothing other than taking pictures or recording video in public places.
It’s not just news photographers who should be concerned with this. I think every citizen should be concerned.
Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel, National Press Photographers Association. New York Times Lens Blog, Criminalizing Photography
Professional and non-profressional photographers need to know their rights.
If you want to jump straight into the details, the ACLU writes about photographer rights here.
Society underestimates the degree of bravery required to be a journalist. In the modern world, the notion of killing the messenger ought to just be a quaint metaphor, not a valid and accepted tactic. Freedom of speech is protected not even just for them to have leave to speak, but because the rest of us need to hear.
Kent, from Keene, N.H.
One of the 16,000 messages sent to the 70 journalists arrested during Occupy protests nationwide.
via Save the News:
For too long we have taken the First Amendment for granted, but increasingly we are taking responsibility for it. In the last few months, more than 40,000 Free Press members sent letters and made phone calls to their mayors, demanding that charges be dropped for the nearly 70 journalists who have been arrested while trying to cover Occupy protests nationwide.
We then asked people to write directly to the arrested journalists themselves, to stand with them and the organizations fighting to protect the First Amendment. Sixteen thousand people responded. This week we are delivering those messages to all those who have been detained.
It’s really a good day for journalism teachers and journalism students everywhere. This is just an incredibly, incredibly important reaffirmation of the rights of students. It was an absolute must-win for the independence of student journalism and we’re very thankful the court got it right.
Frank LoMonte, Executive Director, Student Press Law Center, in a statement to the Chicago Tribune, Iowa court grants students broad free press rights.
Background: An Iowa school district disciplined the faculty advisor of a student newspaper after it ran an April Fools edition that included stories about a chemistry teacher running a meth lab, cheerleaders taking steroids and a doctored photo of a baby smoking in an article about the school’s tobacco policy.
The school contended that the articles violated state law for student-run newspapers by promoting illegal activity.
Via the Chicago Tribune:
The court ruled that an Iowa law gives students greater free speech rights than those afforded under a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court decision that granted school administrators more leeway to censor student publications. Eight other states have similar laws or rules that grant students broad press rights, but Wednesday’s decision marked the first time a U.S. court has interpreted any of them…
…While the decision only interprets the law in Iowa, it could affect debates and legal disputes in other states amid a growing movement to give students more rights, [LoMonte] said.
What if the price of having a vital, well-financed string of newspapers included rare, but inevitable, sexual predation of minors?
Not a tough call, right? But maybe more complicated than you think for the businesses involved.
David Carr, New York Times. Fighting Over Online Sex Ads.
Carr reports that Village Voice Media’s Backpage.com, a classifieds site, is under fire from a coalition of religious leaders and the country’s 51 attorneys general for its “adult” section. Each contends that the site has been used to traffic children.
Village Voice Media CEO Jim Larkin counters that the company is not responsible for the content that appears on the site, and has spent millions on human and technological resources to screen ads that feature minors.
In 2010 a similar coalition went after Craigslist about its adult section, leading the company to ban such advertising in the United States.
As the depth and breadth of TV news has decreased – especially at the local level – communities have fewer and fewer sources of meaningful election coverage. The result is that people now receive the majority of their information about candidates from campaign ads – not from the news. In their recent future of media report the FCC noted that in 2006, “viewers of local news in the Midwest got 2.5 times more information about local elections from paid advertisements than from newscasts.”…
…And as campaign ads have become huge windfalls for TV broadcasters, there is little market motivation to change this equation. More than two-thirds of all campaign spending in the last election went to TV stations. In 2008, TV commercials ate up at least $2.8 billion in campaign funds nationwide. In the wake of the Citizen’s United decision political advertising broke the $400 million mark in the 2010 election. It is a paradox of our media moment that technology has put a printing press in almost everyone’s hands, but increasingly freedom of speech and the press is only available to those who can pay.