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District of Columbia Will Seek to Clarify Street Photography Rules

November 27th, 2011 by Alicia Calzada

The Attorney General of the District of Columbia has told NPPA that he intends to seek a change in the District’s “Street Photography” regulations to clarify the definition of street photography. NPPA recently wrote the Attorney General inquiring about licensing regulations for street photographers and complaining that the regulations are broadly written in a manner that could allow a wide variety of professional photographers to be caught up in the ordinance.

AG Irvin B. Nathan stated in a letter to the organization that the regulations are intended for photographers who shoot exclusively on the street and solicit passers-by for immediate sale of the photographs.

While Nathan maintained his position that the current regulations do not infringe on First Amendment rights, he agreed that it would be beneficial to define the term “street photography” in the regulations to ensure that it only applies to its intended target.

Nathan indicated plans to seek an insertion of the definition into the regulations and promised to keep NPPA informed of the change. We’ll keep members up to date.

Read the original story on the regulations and the letter here.

Read Irvin Nathan’s letter to NPPA here.

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Turkey-Day Listening

November 24th, 2011 by Alicia Calzada

As we celebrate the things we are thankful for, let’s not forget a free and unfettered press.

While traveling or cooking your turkey, check out the archived podcast of Sunday’s Studio SPJ, a discussion about the arrest of several journalists last week:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/spj/2011/11/20/studio-spj-covering-the-occupy-protests

Summary of the Podcast: The Occupy Wall Street protests have spread across the nation and as reporters and photographers are covering these events in their communities some are finding themselves arrested simply for doing their job. Join Studio SPJ producer Holly Fisher as she leads a discussion on journalists’ arrests and what SPJ and other groups are doing to protest this problem. Panelists include Virginia SPJ Pro Chapter President Paul Fletcher, Nashville Scene reporter Jonathan Meador, and Mickey Osterreicher, counsel for the National Press Photographers Association.

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Update: NYPD to Remind Officers of Media’s Rights at 10 Consecutive Roll Calls

November 23rd, 2011 by Alicia Calzada and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

After meeting on Wednesday with several media attorneys, including NPPA general counsel Mickey Osterreicher, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly ordered that a “Finest” message be disseminated reminding officers of their obligations to cooperate with the media. The message will be read at 10 consecutive roll calls citywide.

“I’m pleased to see such a swift response from the Commissioner, of course this is just the first step in ensuring that this doesn’t happen again,” said Osterreicher. “We expect more to be done in the near future to help improve police-press relations which have devolved so significantly.”

The Finest message highlights various guidelines that instruct police on how to deal with the media, including that “Members of the service will not interfere with the videotaping or the photographing of incidents in public places. Intentional interference such as blocking or obstructing cameras or harassing the photographer constitutes censorship. Working Press Cards clearly state the bearer ‘is entitled to cross police and fire lines.’ This right will be honored and access will not be denied.”

The message also states: that “Members of the service who unreasonably interfere with media access to incidents or who intentionally prevent or obstruct the photographing or videotaping of news in public places will be subject to disciplinary action.”

The meeting on Wednesday came after a letter was sent by media organizations on Monday complaining about the way police mishandled the media during last week’s “eviction” of Zuccotti Park, the home of months of Occupy Wall Street protests. Police officers arrested several journalists and also used force against several journalists during the raid.

Read the entire contents of the planned  NYPD Finest message, as it was provided to the NPPA.

 

 

Posted in Cameras, First Amendment, mass media, National Press Photographers Association, NPPA, NYPD, Photographers' Rights, photojournalism, Police, Public Photography, Recording Police, Street Photography, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Media Groups Join NPPA to Protest Police Mistreatment of Press During NYC – OWS Protests

November 21st, 2011 by Alicia Calzada and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

New York – The National Press Photographers Association was joined by several media organizations and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in a letter to the NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information, Paul J. Browne, to protest police mistreatment of the the media during the Occupy Wall Street protests last week. The strongly worded letter drafted by NPPA general Counsel Mickey H. Osterreicher along with New York Times vice president and assistant general counsel, George Freeman, pointed out that “credentialed media were identified, segregated and kept away from viewing, reporting on and photographing vital matters of public concern. A press pen was set up blocks away and those kept there were further prevented from seeing what was occurring by the strategic placement of police buses around the perimeter. Moreover, there have been numerous instances where police officers struck or otherwise intentionally impeded photographers as they were taking photos, keeping them from doing their job and from documenting instances of seeming police aggression.”

The letter outlines several specific incidents in which members of the media were physically assaulted by police. It also describes how members of the media were ordered to leave public areas, stripped of their credentials, threatened with arrest, detained and arrested.

During an August 2011 meeting Browne had promised to review previous media complaints regarding other incidents involving police interference with the media and his agreement to consider additional training to reinforce media guidelines, for newer officers on the force.  Browne had agreed at the time that additional training for officers would be beneficial. The media representatives who authored the letter expressed their belief  “that had such agreed upon training occurred, it may have helped avoid the numerous inappropriate, if not unconstitutional, actions and abuses the police heaped upon both credentialed and non-credentialed journalists in the last few days.”

A companion letter was sent by the New York Civil Liberties Union to New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg making similar complaints. Both groups have asked for a meeting with the police in order to address these issues.

Read the complete letter here:DCPI Letter – Signed 11-21-11

Update:

See articles by the New York Press Club. and the Associate Press.

 

Posted in broadcasting, First Amendment, First Amendment rights, law, Legal, mass media, multimedia, National Press Photographers Association, News Photography, NPPA, NYPD, photographers, Photographers' Rights, photojournalism, Police, Public Photography, Recording Police, video cameras | No Comments »