RTDNA joins NPPA and other journalism organizations to oppose California proposals to restrict newsgathering. Two bills making their way through the California legislature, AB-1256 and AB-1356 would broadly redefine personal privacy with the intent of keeping paparazzi away from celebrities, but with the added consequences of severely curtailing legitimate newsgathering, while exposing journalists to criminal prosecution and civil liability.
As the National Press Photographers Association outlined in a letter to California lawmakers, the bills as written would blatantly violate the First Amendment, making no distinction between invasions of privacy by members of the public and valid newsgathering efforts. The letter goes on to urge the state to utilize existing laws to prosecute proven incidents of stalking.
Similar efforts have been derailed in the past as lawmakers realized overly broad language would be immediately struck down by the courts, but the most recent bills have been pursued more aggressively after recent, publicized incidents involving celebrities.
Has your state enacted or attempted to enact laws under the guise of privacy protections which in fact would impede journalists? Let us know in the comments below.