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News & Press: NABJ News

NABJ welcomes and praises a recent ruling by the US Court of Appeals in Boston

Friday, September 16, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Aprill Turner
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The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) welcomes and praises a recent ruling by the US Court of Appeals in Boston affirming journalists’ and citizens’ rights to record police officers conducting their duties in public. NABJ believes this ruling is crucial to protecting the First Amendment protections of a free press and comes at a time when many police departments have violated that freedom by arresting citizens and journalists who witness and record the activities of police.

The court’s ruling came in the case of Simon Glik, a Boston man who was arrested in Oct. 2007 while using his cell phone to record  three Boston police officers making an arrest. Glik was charged with violating the Massachusetts wiretap statute and his cell phone and a memory card were confiscated. The charges were later dismissed by a municipal court and Glik sued the three officers for violating his rights under the First and Fourth Amendments. The officers had asked the appeals court and a lower court to dismiss the case, claiming they should be immune from the lawsuit. The court, rightfully, disagreed, allowing Glik’s lawsuit to proceed.

NABJ is proud of the court’s decision to stand up for, rather than curtail, press freedoms. In its ruling, the court stated that, "Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting ‘the free discussion of governmental affairs.’” In specifically referencing the First Amendment, the court sends a strong message to police and government officials that efforts to stifle press freedoms are intolerable in our Democracy.

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