Journalism Ethics: Photo/Video Rights

This past semester, I learned a little about journalism ethics in my Media Institutions (COMM 2084) class, including First Amendment rights. As our generation learns and grows with social media and technology, it becomes increasingly vital that we understand its impacts, potential and sphere of influence. Social media has given rise to many citizen journalists and continues to globalize our increasingly interconnected global society. We are not only citizens of a country, but citizens of the world. 

Here is a short video by the Washington Post on ethics and rights when it comes to civilian rights photography and videography involving law enforcement. Information is from a collaboration between the International Union of Police Associations and the National Press Photographers Association.

(I summarized the points below) 
  1. You have the right to record and photograph police unless you’re physically interfering with them performing their duties.
  2. You must be on public property, your own property or if you’re on private property, you must have permission from the owner.
  3. Police can tell you to step back, but they cannot tell you to stop recording. They cannot order you to leave the area if other members of the public (without cameras) are allowed to stay.
  4. If you’re going to record police, do it in an open and obvious manner. 
  5. Police say you should avoid interfering and warn not all bystanders know and understand proper use of force. 
  6. (acc. to the U.S. Department of Justice) Under the First Amendment, there are no circumstances under which the contents of a camera or recording device should be deleted or destroyed. 

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