Restriction of the Press: How far is too far?

Restriction of the press in China.  Censorship in communist countries.  It is common knowledge that in some countries, journalism operates within strict guidelines. What can be reported is limited.  Many Americans feel safe from these acts.   But they would be surprised to learn what is occurring here at home.

Photo courtesy of Gizmodo

Reporters, cameramen, and citizens are being arrested for contributing to the news, simply by aiming and shooting—a camera, that is.  According to an article from Gizmodo,in some states, “it is now illegal to record any on-duty police officer.”   Illinois, Massachusetts and Maryland have been the first to support this movement, with other states considering the same.

The real issue at hand is that of police abuse and its viewing accessibility on YouTube or Facebook.  With ever increasing technology, it is becoming more difficult for the police to smother the spread of unsightly videos or stories  The incident in this video displays the type of brutality police forces are trying to hide.

Gizmodo points out that recording police abuse has come to be a crime itself.  The statutes contend that two-person consent is needed, and if the police don’t give it, then the action is illegal.

Al Tompkins, a top writer for Poynter Online, wrote on this topic and interviewed two media attorneys on the matter.  In the interview, attorneys Robb Harvey and Richard Goehler, advise journalists to stay on public ground and out of the way. By doing so, it will provide the best defense in the case that a police officer tries to take the camera.

So where does all of this leave journalists?  Are we to turn a blind eye and pander to the police, saving their reputation and credibility, or report the news as it really is? Cast your vote below!

Should the police force’s actions be recorded?


~Britta Marquand

This entry was posted in International Press, Law and ethics, News coverage, Press Freedom, Reporting and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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