Blotter: The Right to Take Pictures

26 07 2010

Note: this is a cross-post with my NPPA Blog.

The right to take pictures has been in the news so much lately that I feel I need to present it in the form of a police blotter. Please send tips to me at advocacy@nppa.org.

  • The Washington Post has an interesting piece on ten incidents where photographers were stopped for taking pictures, detained, or told that photography was not allowed in a public place. It accompanies a story talking about the problem that NPPA has been fighting for years- police interfering with the right to make photographs in public.
  • In other “Right to take pictures” news, a congressman from New York, U.S. Rep. Edolphus “Ed” Towns (NY-10) has submitted a resolution to the House of Representatives, “recognizing that the videotaping or photographing of police engaged in potentially abusive activity in a public place should not be prosecuted in State or Federal courts.” A “resolution” does not have the force of law that a statute does, but it will be nice if in fact Towns can get the House to support the concept that photography of police is protected constitutional activity.
  • File this under “save the best for last”: Earlier this month, a jury awarded camerawoman Patricia Ballaz $1.732 million in damages in her lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles after she was battered by members of the LAPD during an immigration rights rally in 2007. Her injuries were so severe that she was unable to return to her job.
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    The photo editors of social networking

    19 07 2010

    There is an interesting story in today’s New York Times about a growing profession of screeners whose job it is to look at social networking images and flag them for inappropriate content- pornography, violence and other disturbing images. Some of the work is outsourced, but some is done in-house, depending on the company needing the review.

    Like journalists, many of these individuals suffer psychological consequences from constantly seeing disturbing images. Oddly the article doesn’t mention anything about how they handle referring illegal activity to law enforcement. But it is fascinating to realize that in a world where content is provided by the masses, there is still a level of gate-keeping.





    Elegant Argument for Cameras in the Supreme Court

    2 07 2010

    This week, the broadcast of the Elena Kagan confirmation hearings provided a stark contrast to the dramatic events actually inside the Court on Monday. What came of it is one of the most elegant arguments for cameras in the Supreme Court that I have ever read.

    Check out the article here.