ASNE and 30 other media organizations and companies filed an amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in a case that will dictate the extent to which citizens have the right to record the activities of police, regardless of the intention or motive behind recording the video. The case is the latest in a series of lawsuits brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania on behalf of individuals arrested by the Philadelphia police officers while in the act of recording officers. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed the ACLU’s lawsuit and held that there is no First Amendment right to such recording absent some “expressive conduct” beyond just capturing the recording.
The brief, http://files.constantcontact.com/91232289201/21d8dc87-92a5-4adf-887f-389b3d64652d.pdf drafted by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, argues in favor of an unfettered right to record police activity and offers the unique perspective of the utility these recordings have for the news media. The brief recounts several high-profile recordings of police-citizen interaction, which were recorded by individual citizens but delivered to news media for further broadcast or publication. The brief explains how the district court’s ruling could result in suppression of these videos under pressure from police, which will result in a significant decrease in oversight of law enforcement activities.