Recent Comments

    Search

    Some Practical Advice about Covering High Conflict News Stories

    April 28th, 2015 by Mickey Osterreicher and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    See the attached document containing some practical advice about covering high conflict news stories.

    Issues covered:

    • Legal
    • Local Ordinances
    • Federal Trespass
    • Resources
    • Important items to have with you
    • Potential for arrest
    • Complying with police orders
    • Being questioned and detained
    • Protecting your files
    • Arrest & release
    • Practical advice
    • Preparation
    • Your equipment

    These have been put together as a result of covering the NATO Summit in Chicago in 2012 the political conventions in Tampa and Charlotte later that year and the demonstrations in Ferguson in 2014.

    For more information please contact:

    Mickey H. Osterreicher

    Cell 716.983.7800

    Email [email protected]

    Twitter @nppalawyer

     

     

    Posted in Access, Baltimore Police, Baltimore Riots, cell phone cameras, Ferguson, First Amendment, First Amendment rights, Fourth Amendment, Fourth Amendment rights, Legal, Maryland ACLU, National Press Photographers Association, News Photography, Newsgathering, NPPA, photographers, Photographers' Rights, photojournalism, Police, Public Photography, Recording Police, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, retaliation for the exercise of First Amendment rights | No Comments »

    Important Info for Those Covering Ferguson

    November 23rd, 2014 by Mickey Osterreicher and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    For all NPPA members and visual journalists in Ferguson, Missouri – Please print out the federal court orders below and keep them with you at all times.

    Also please contact NPPA general counsel Mickey Osterreicher if you are interfered with or arrested. You may call or text his cell: 716.983.7800 or email [email protected].

    You may also call 800.336.4243, which is the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Legal Defense Hotline.

    County Order

    Highway Patrol Order

    Ferguson Order

    Posted in Access, Ferguson, First Amendment, First Amendment rights, National Press Photographers Association, News Photography, Newsgathering, NPPA, photographers, Photographers' Rights, photojournalism, Recording Police, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Visual Journalists | No Comments »

    Court Orders Police in Ferguson Not to Interfere with Individuals Who are Photographing or Recording in Public

    November 21st, 2014 by Alicia Calzada and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Today a federal judge for the Eastern District of Missouri granting three orders agreed and consented to by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the County of St. Louis Missouri and the City of Ferguson. The orders signed by Judge John A Ross for the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the County of St. Louis enjoins those entities from  “interfering with individuals who are photographing or recording at public places but who are not threatening the safety of others or physically interfering with the ability of law enforcement to perform their duties.”

    The order directed at the City of Ferguson more specifically prohibits the city from enforcing or threatening to enforce “any rule, policy or practice that grants law enforcement officers the authority or discretion to arrest, threaten to arrest, or interfere with any individual, including any member of the media or member of the public photographing or recording in public places unless that person is threatening the safety of others or physically interfering with the ability of law enforcement to perform their duties.”

    The fact that the orders protect photographers who are not “physically” interfering with law enforcement prevents agencies from claiming that the act of reporting is in itself threatening or otherwise an interference. “Journalists and law enforcement officials share a common responsibility – we all serve the public – raising the awareness of law enforcement personnel about these matters after the fact only means that journalists were prevented from doing their jobs, and because of that, the public was not properly served,” said NPPA president Mark J. Dolan.

    In August the ACLU file a lawsuit in federal court against police agencies in Ferguson on behalf of photographer Mustafa Hussein. The complaint sought a preliminary injunction against police policies of demanding and ordering members of the media and public to stop recording the police acting in their official duty on public streets and sidewalks. It also sought to have the court declare that the police policy on its face and as-applied violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments by chilling free speech without due process.

    In support of that lawsuit, the NPPA filed a Declaration outlining some of the issues faced by visual journalists as well as how NPPA’s general counsel, Mickey H. Osterreicher, tried to deal with those situations while he was in Ferguson this summer. The bigger issues were the fact that police tried to keep the media in areas they had established rather than allow  access to traditionally open public forums such as sidewalks. Osterreicher suggests that journalists print out and carry the orders to show police who may be in contempt. “While it is gratifying that the police agencies agreed to these self-evident liberties it is still troublesome that they have apparently failed to provide any substantive training regarding constitutional rights. As we have seen time and time again without proper training  p0lice frequently disregard the Bill of Rights and any enforcement orders as just another piece of paper,” Osterreicher said.

    NPPA Executive Director Charles W. L. (“Chip”) Deale added, “We are pleased that the court again has recognized and emphasized the important and Constitutionally-protected right of visual journalists to perform their critical news-gathering function free of harassment and undue restrictions. The NPPA hopes and trusts that law enforcement agencies in and around Ferguson will unerringly abide by these court orders.”

    The orders resolves the case, but the federal court specifically retains jurisdiction to enforce the injunctions.

    Posted in Access, ACLU, Assault on Photographers, Ferguson, First Amendment, First Amendment rights, National Press Photographers Association, News Photography, Newsgathering, photographers, Photographers' Rights, photojournalism, Police, Visual Journalists | No Comments »

    Media should be able to fly, despite temporary flight restriction in Ferguson

    August 19th, 2014 by Alicia Calzada

    Although the FAA has issued a temporary flight restriction over Ferguson, Missouri, those restrictions should not include news helicopters.

    The flight restrictions have been widely reported, and several news organizations have reported that the restrictions apply to news media. However, the regulation giving the FAA authority to issue the temporary flight restriction contains an exemption for news media.

    NPPA member William Luther, a photojournalist at the San Antonio Express-News who holds a private pilot’s license, brought the exception to NPPA’s attention earlier today.

    The FAA issued the temporary flight restrictions under the authority of 14 CFR § 91.137(a)(2) (Temporary flight restrictions in the vicinity of disaster/hazard areas.). That section relates to the issuance of a TFR necessary to “provide a safe environment for the operation of disaster relief aircraft.” When a temporary flight restriction notice is issued under that subsection, aircraft are banned from the designated area, unless certain exceptions apply. One of the exceptions permitting flight within the restricted airspace is that the aircraft is carrying accredited news representatives.

    Specifically, the regulation permits aircraft “carrying properly accredited news representatives,” if, “prior to entering the area, a flight plan is filed … and the operation is conducted above the altitude used by the disaster relief aircraft, unless otherwise authorized by the official in charge of on scene emergency response activities.”

    As a result of the persistent legal problems many journalists have faced covering protests in Ferguson, NPPA’s General Counsel Mickey Osterreicher arrived in Missouri today and is providing legal support to visual journalists in the city.

    Posted in FAA, Ferguson, First Amendment, First Amendment rights, Legal, Photographers' Rights, Recording Police, Visual Journalists | No Comments »