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Freedom of The Press ILLEGAL in Washington DC

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Adam Howard, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

    A member of The Associated Press was arrested for reporting a public meeting, on public property, in Washington DC.
  2. Vincent

    Vincent Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty sure people are just overreacting :p
  3. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

    Sarcasm? ( I hope )

    It's not over reacting when the press (news agencies) are told they can not report on public meetings on public property, that public citizens pay taxes and support.
    Vincent likes this.
  4. Jaxel

    Jaxel Well-Known Member

    The federal government has been overstretching its powers for a hundred years now. They have been constantly breaking the freedoms of the bill of rights. Most notably overturning STATE laws, claiming their FEDERAL laws supersede. This can be seen with the CA law legalizing medical marijuana, and the FBI arresting people because the federal government refuses to acknowledge the state law.

    I am a libertarian, and I support Ron Paul.
    TheVisitors likes this.
  5. User

    User Well-Known Member

    Because two arresting officers (probably only one and the other was a subordinate) who don't know their left foot from their right are "the government". :confused:
    People screw up in all walks of life, not just when they are government employees, the difference is that if you are Goldman Sachs and you screw the world economy you walk away with billions in your own pocket while some sap LEO gets posted on YouTube and becomes the lightning rod of the anti-government rage. Get real folks.
    Shamufish likes this.
  6. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

    Did you see how many police officers were there? It only took 1 to say, you can't do this! Yet all of them enforced it.
  7. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

  8. Ranger375

    Ranger375 Well-Known Member

    Everything is illegal in DC, including the second amendment. Pretty ironic if you ask me.
  9. Jeremy

    Jeremy Well-Known Member

    A lot of public meetings can be reported on without using a camera. The school board in my 1 square mile town will kick anybody recording the proceedings. I can't see what is so big about this. Many public meetings are public, just not for recording.


    First amendment does not guarantee you the right to record it either. The second YouTube video clearly said that. As it reads:

    No where does it state "right to record public events." It states freedom of the press. The press was there reporting, and refused to stop using a camera. Again, still don't see the big deal.
  10. User

    User Well-Known Member

    In theory what you are saying is true. However, in practice you don't go against your own in public over something like this. Anyone who's been part of any kind of group like cops, EMTs, fire fighters, military will tell you that.

    It wasn't a matter of life and death, it's an administrative issue and if someone on that team had something negative to say about how all of that went down you can bet that they did do so in an internal review of the issue.

    The whole thing is just being blown out of proportion. Did the cop(s) made/make a mistake? Unknown whether it was a legal mistake, but it was certainly a mistake in the court of public opinion.

    Here's a link to what appears to be the D.C. open meetings statue, which does not explicitly allow the press to video record public meetings, it merely mentions that meetings should be recorded when feasible (presumably audio recording): http://www.dcogc.org/open_meetings_guide

    In either case and regardless on how this will play out, this is hardly a "OMG the government is cracking down on freedom of the press" case.
    Forsaken likes this.
  11. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

    The press use to be word of mouth, about the time the Constitution was "hand written".
    Then came printed press.
    Then came audio "press" (reporting over the radio)
    And later video "press" (reporting over TV)
    Today we even had digital "press" (reporting over the internet).

    The press has always sought to provide news in the most effective way possible...

    Should we really have to "update" the Constitution to include every technological aspect on which our news media adapt to reporting the news?!
  12. Jeremy

    Jeremy Well-Known Member

    No. However, to me, if its a stated rule that cameras would not be allowed (who really wants every word they state in a public meeting recorded for all time?), the constitution doesn't protect that. It protects the right to report on what's going on. video "press" and audio "press" are just new delivery methods (without video for a lot), so I'm fine without being able to record a public meeting. The press in the above situation was allowed within the meeting room without issues until cameras were involved (unless I 100% misunderstand the situation). Freedom of the press wasn't infringed.

    It isn't a constitutional right to record people against their will. So why should press be permitted to record meetings they don't want recorded (personal or issue related, doesn't matter, its in many rules), just because freedom of the press is there? Doesn't being a reporter mean I can get away with whatever I wanted?
  13. Mr_Bob

    Mr_Bob Well-Known Member

    The U.S. Constitution was written during the 1780s and adopted in 1787, during a time when recording, including audio-recording, was unheard of. The Framers intentionally left some of the language of the Constitution a bit vague (which includes the first ten amendments adopted at the time of ratification), to allow for the document to adapt over-time without the need for formal amendment. Over the years, the Supreme Court has worked to establish freedom of the press/speech to closely follow the Blackstone Theory, which prohibits prior restraint. It is for this reason of no prior restraint that the government could not, for example, forcibly stop Terry Jones from burning the Qur'an as a form of protest.

    There are some restraints, such as the Miller Test, the O'Brien Test, etc that determine whether or not certain publications or actions are covered by the first amendment after they are reported on / performed (basically, if you're showing something obscene or a threat to national security, you're in trouble) in addition to restrictions on classified information (falls under NS interests, why you don't see reporters in on secret military meetings), but filming at a public meeting over the Taxi Commission, well, there's really nothing wrong with that. If I were the lawyer for these gentlemen, I would seek to counter the charges with unlawful arrest and detention charges against the officers involved, seeking suspension for the subordinate officers and expulsion for the officer that led the charge.
  14. Brett Peters

    Brett Peters Well-Known Member

    A member of The Associated Press and an Iphone recording :confused:
    Police not deleting the video from the Iphone :ROFLMAO::cry::ROFLMAO:
  15. Shamufish

    Shamufish Member

    I'm European having lived in the US for several years. I loved the States to bits but visa issues kept me from staying.
    The US libertarian left is the most self-contradicting bunch I have ever seen. One day the 'freedom of the press' is at stake because 2 officers made a blunder, the next it's how guns should be illegal. Just pick one side of the argument and stick to it people.

    I'm French and everyone in SF seemed to think 'how much better' France is, listening to them you'd think Europe was all milk, honey and unicorns.

    The problem is that the 'vocal' left wing in the US has the same problem as the 'vocal' right wing: neither of them have traveled enough. Spend a few years in France and watch how broken the system is there, with entire cities closed off to the police. Spend a few years in the Phillipines and watch how half the population is living in **** (litteraly) while a corrupt minority wines and dines. Spend sometime in SA and watch how apartheid is still very much alive, perpetuated by the same people who suffered from it it, etc.

    It's never perfect anywhere people. Saying that 'there is no freedom of press in Washington' is nonsense, period.
  16. jasetaro

    jasetaro Well-Known Member

    A few quick comments:

    1) Pete Tucker doesn't work for the Associated Press, he's an independent journalist who writes for TheFightBack.org. You can read his account of events here.
    2) Both Mr. Tucker and Jim Epstein of Reason.TV were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful entry. It was Mr. Epstein who shot the video above. You can read his account of events here.
    3) John Kelly, a columnist for the Washington Post was also at the meeting. His account of the events leading up to the arrests of Mr. Tucker and Mr. Epstein is available here.

    To paraphrase President Obama, the police acted stupidly... Mr. Tucker and Mr. Epstein should not have been arrested, they had every right to attend, record and ask questions at that meeting... Rights that are protected by both the Constitution and the District's open meetings law BTW.

    I suspect the charges against both men will eventually be dropped, the only question is whether the DCTC commissioner(s) and/or staff at that meeting will be held accountable for their actions... At least one member of D.C. Council is asking questions.
    TheVisitors likes this.
  17. grant sarver

    grant sarver Well-Known Member

    So I can't be in favor of limiting one and not the other? Or must I tow the party line on all issues? Sorry, I'd rather be shot with a camera than a gun.

    Actually, both the left and right advocate gun control, they just can't agree on where the line should be drawn. The same with freedom of the press, it's rarely opposing views, it's just where to draw the line.
  18. TheLaw

    TheLaw Well-Known Member

    Usually I take the position that most people, even police officers, don't just arrest people to show wield their power and shove it down the throats of the common man. That's a myth which does happen but on rare occasions. Most of the time people act rationally. Typically there is a good explanation behind the motivations of people's actions. Unfortunately the press and people are prone to knee jerk reactions after hearing an offensive sounding part of a story and they run with it like the wind. It takes time to discover both sides.

    After performing some research I found out the following: http://dcist.com/2011/06/when_two_journalists_were_arrested.php . Apparently some loophole in the law allowed the DC Taxi Commission Chair to bar private recordings of a public meeting, the motivation for doing so is that supposedly those recording the meetings were getting out of hand. These meetings are recorded by the commission for public review, although there is no requirement that a video or electronic transcript be made, only detailed minutes.

    As a result of the Chair's mandate of no recording, this police officer was following the law and rules set down by the people who control him. He did his job and he was polite - and it's a tough job. Perhaps it would have been better if the officer told the guy that the DC Taxi Commission Chair barred his ability to record the meeting. Whether anyone should ever be barred for innocuously recording public meetings and creating a virtual cspan of transparency is a whole other story and you can read the article.

    So who is the real problem here? It actually was not the police officer. Most of the time they have the most thankless job on the planet.
    MGSteve, jasetaro and User like this.
  19. jasetaro

    jasetaro Well-Known Member

    Umm, as former cop, I just can't let this pass, Disorderly conduct is basically a throw away charge... I don't have the D.C. or federal statutes in front of me, but here in Connecticut the disorderly conduct statute is so broadly written that a creative cop can turn most any boorish public behavior into a Disorderly Conduct or Breach of Peace charge (the statutes are virtually identical... the distinction basically is if it's indoors it's disorderly, if it's outdoors it's breach).

    And as aside of sorts... the D.C. Open meetings law states in part that the act “shall be construed broadly to maximize public access to meetings (§ 2-574(a)). I'm not sure how apparently unwritten rule banning reporters from recording the proceedings squares with statutes call for a broad interpretation. :)
    TheVisitors likes this.
  20. TheLaw

    TheLaw Well-Known Member

    You're completely ignoring the politics for the sake of a technical argument. This isn't a disorderly conduct charge between a cop and some innocuous guy on a quiet street which can be brushed off. This is a cop doing his duty in a place where other powerful people reign. If you don't follow their orders and someone notices (and in this case they would), you can bet someone will hear about it and there will be repercussions.

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