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Mainstream media continues to address the cops vs photographer epidemic

The mainstream media momentum continues with yet another in-depth article in The Washington Post addressing the epidemic of cops arresting and hassling photographers for taking photos in public.

In this piece, staff writer Annys Shin – who has taken it upon herself to become the phot


The mainstream media momentum continues with yet another in-depth article in The Washington Post addressing the epidemic of cops arresting and hassling photographers for taking photos in public.

In this piece, staff writer Annys Shin – who has taken it upon herself to become the photographer right’s advocate for the Post – interviews several Washington DC photographers who have been harassed, including our very own Jerome Vorus.

She does a good job of continuing to educate the masses about this phenomenon that has increased drastically since the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

Courts have long ruled that the First Amendment protects the right of citizens to take photographs in public places. Even after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, law enforcement agencies have reiterated that right in official policies.

But in practice, those rules don’t always filter down to police officers and security guards who continue to restrict photographers, often citing authority they don’t have. Almost nine years after the terrorist attacks, which ratcheted up security at government properties and transportation hubs, anyone photographing federal buildings, bridges, trains or airports runs the risk of being seen as a potential terrorist.

Reliable statistics on detentions and arrests of photographers are hard to come by, but photographers, their advocates and even police agree that confrontations still occur frequently. Photographers had run-ins with police before the 2001 attacks, but constitutional lawyers say the combination of heightened security concerns and the spread of digital cameras has made such incidents more common.

The issue has received an incredible amount of news coverage in the past month since Shin published her first piece on Anthony Graber last month in which she quoted me and linked to Photography is Not a Crime.

That piece was followed by an editorial in the Post denouncing these arrests. Then NPR Talk of the Nation did a segment in which myself and Radley Balko were interviewed.

And then USA Today wrote a scathing editorial denouncing these arrests. And then ABC News published a piece. And then MSNBC did its piece. And then Popular Mechanics published its piece.

And while not exactly mainstream, Gizmodo – which receives just as much traffic as the others – published a couple of articles in the past month.

And NBC Washington published a piece. And in Arizona, the Tucson Citizen – one of my former employers – also addressed the issue.

And the Cato Institute also addressed the issue.

And I’m sure I missed a few but it’s getting hard to keep up with all this coverage.

This week alone, I have two scheduled radio interviews and I’ll be scheduling a third with a correspondent from HDNet World Report who wants to fly to Miami to interview me.

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