June 21st, 2011 by Alicia Calzada and tagged Access, first amendment, law, Legal, national press photographers association, news industry, newspapers, NPPA, photographers, photography, photojournalism, police, police relations, social media, trespassing
The City of Ft. Lauderdale agreed on Monday not to interfere with photographers taking pictures near the set of the film “Rock of Ages.” At an emergency hearing in state court, the NPPA joined the South Florida Gay News and the Society of Professional Journalists as plaintiffs against the City, which had erected signs banning photography in public areas near a movie set. According to area photographer and activist Carlos Miller, at least one photographer was issued a citation for taking pictures from a public garage.
The Agreed Court Order states that the city:
“shall not prohibit or inhibit the taking of photographs at or from any public area surrounding, near or adjacent to the film set of the production of the film, “Rock of Ages. For the purposes of this order, the term “public area” shall includ any area where members of the public have a right to be, but shall not include areas that have been lawfully closed to access by members of the public.”
The movie, starring Tom Cruise and Catherine Zeta-Jones is being filmed in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, and the city had posted several signs in public areas stating that photography was strictly prohibited, even though those same areas were open to the public.
Some area photographers staged a protest on Friday drawing publicity to the illegal ban, and news organizations reported that the signs were removed, but police were still enforcing the ban.
According to the Gay South Florida News, one of the other plaintiffs in the suit, the city denied that it was interfering with the right to take pictures. However, the plaintiffs offered to provide witnesses to the contrary.
Though the injunction is in place, the plaintiffs intend to proceed with the lawsuit seeking a declaration that the city acted illegally.
A detailed report of hearing along with pictures, is available at the website www.journoterrorist.com.
NPPA will continue to provide updates as the lawsuit progresses.