The First Amendment doesn’t refer just to professionals
September 19th, 2011

If there’s one thing that events such as the recent riots in Britain and protests in California have shown, it’s that mobile devices and social tools like Twitter and YouTube have effectively made everyone into a journalist. (..) But not everyone likes this trend, and we’re not talking just about professional journalists — police forces across the U.S. have been arresting and prosecuting people for photographing or videotaping them, even in public places. And while the American Civil Liberties Union fights to have one such law struck down, a recent high-level court decision has championed the rights of bloggers and “citizen journalists” when it comes to freedom of the press.

Read here the full GIGAOm article of September 15

In one of the most recent incidents involving someone taking a video of the police in a public place, Emily Good of Rochester, N.Y. was arrested after she videotaped a local police incident from her own property — and was later charged with obstruction of justice for arguing with a police officer who told her she didn’t have the right to videotape him. As it turned out, the police officer was wrong: videotaping the police (or anyone else, for that matter) in a public place is perfectly legal in New York state. The chief of police later apologized and admitted that his force needed more training as to what is and isn’t illegal.

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