Recently there was an incident at a Claire McCaskill Table Talk at which Senate staffers attempted to restrict constituents ability to record either by video or audio means a public meeting designed to foster communication between constituents and their governmental representatives.
Video H/T SharpElbows.Net
Although the case which Judicial Watch is reporting on was brought by a man who recorded the actions of police in their official governmental duties, the decision clearly applies to other governmental officials as well.
From the Judicial Watch article:
But a few days ago the federal appellate court settled the issue, ruling that the filming of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place fits comfortably within the principles of protected First Amendment activity. The court also noted that police officers are to expect to deal with certain “burdens” as citizens practice First Amendments rights.
“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,” the three-judge panel wrote, adding that police officers should have understood this all along and that videotaping public officials is not limited to the press.
“Moreover, changes in technology and society have made the lines between private citizen and journalist exceedingly difficult to draw,” the court continued. “The proliferation of electronic devices with video-recording capability means that many of our images of current events come from bystanders with a ready cell phone or digital camera rather than a traditional film crew, and news stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her computer as a reporter at a major newspaper. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.”
Perhaps Politicians and their Staffers should take note, and REMOVE such illegal signs in the future so as to not create hostile environments in public meetings.
You can read the entire article at the link below. Perhaps Senator Claire McCaskill and her staffers should as well.
Court Rules Citizens Can Record Police | Judicial Watch.