All Journalism Is Citizen Journalism

“Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status. News stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her computer as a reporter at a major newspaper.” – Judge Kermit Lipez

September 13, 2011—First Amendment activists cheered the recent opinion out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit released on August 26, 2011, which ruled that a private citizen’s right to videotape police officers performing their duties in a public space is “unambiguously” protected by the First Amendment.  (Glik v. Cunniffe, et al., No. 10-1764(1st Cir. Aug. 26, 2011).

Boston resident Simon Glik witnessed three police officers making an arrest in 2007. Concerned that officers were using excessive force, he recorded the arrest with his cellphone. Officers confronted Glik and when he refused to stop videotaping the arrest, he was arrested.

Among the offenses he was charged with violating were Massachusetts’ wiretapping laws. Glik filed a civil rights action against the officers and the City of Boston for violating his First and Fourth Amendment rights.

Glik’s First Amendment rights prevailed. Writing for the majority, Judge Kermit Lipez explained that the First Amendment not only prohibits establishing laws against freedom of speech, but also “encompasses a range of conduct related to the gathering and dissemination of information.” Citizens have the right to observe actions and proceedings and investigate the facts that foster the free reporting and discussion of government affairs. They also have the right to share what they learn with fellow citizens.


Original source.

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