The power of low-cost video and image capture coupled with the distribution power of social networks is literally changing the face of government across the world. An important ruling this week from the U.S 1st Circuit Court of Appeals provides legal reinforcement for the idea that the lines between a journalist and a private citizen with a camera have blurred.
The story is about a man who was arrested in Massachuset for peacefully filming police officers in a public place without interfering with their work, while they were making an arrest. It is what happened afterwards, when the police arrested him and confiscated his camera and flash drive that led to this ruling. As the court writes on page 13 of its ruling, “….the news gathering protections of the first amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.” Click here to read this important ruling that provides good insight for anyone filming public officials.