Don’t Shoot: Photographers Against the Law?

July 1, 2010

          Since grade school, many have grown up pledging alegiance to the flag before the start of class, ingraining in their developing minds what it means to be an American. Unlike many countries, we are priveledged: having the freedom to choose, and express oneself; however, as the world has modernized and globalized, with the establishment of social networks such as Facebook and Myspace, we have come to lose our right to privacy. Just ask newscaster Erin Andrews.

          In turn, law enforcement no longer approaches freedom of speech, or in this case, freedom of vision, as a lax matter, especially, when the “crimes” become personal. laws are construed. In Maryland, early March 2009, 24 year old Anthony Graber faced criminal charges for posting a video of a cop. Primarily, he had been pulled over for speeding but disturbingly, only when he had posted the video online 10 days later had his house been searched. In the end, he been charged for “wiretapping” when clearly, it had been a prsonal matter in part of the cop. Similarly, in Canada, a blogger was detained while covering the G20 summit, after photographing a group of cops. The injustice doesn’t stop there. Carlos Miller’s blog, Photography is Not a Crime posts similar “crimes” dating back to April 2007. Have we become a country of censorship?

          In defense, many photographers now carry a document stating their right to shoot (pictures that is). Recently, Amateur Photographer magazine has planned to give away lens cloths with these rights printed in their July issue for free.

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