June 19, 2011

WSVN Can't Get Facts Straight.

WSVN-7 News covered the little protest we had the other day.  And while it's great that they came out, it would have been more impressive if they got the story right.

The gist of their story - and their error - is in the second paragraph of the article:
Nearly two dozen print and professional photographers are angry. Friday afternoon, they decided to protest a Fort Lauderdale city ordinance that bans all photography within several hundred yards of the filming of the Hollywood movie "Rock of Ages."
The problem with this?  There is no ordinance banning all photography, around the site, or anywhere else. 

DSC_3595
Channel 7 is good at showing up and getting footage.  Getting the facts straight, not so much.

What we were protesting is best summed up by Carlos Miller, who broke the story on Pixiq:
Acting as hired guns for the Rock of Ages film set, Fort Lauderdale police officers have been harassing, intimidating and threatening photojournalists trying to photograph actors in public.

The cops even went as far as to erect a sign stating that “photography of this area is prohibited” and that violators will be arrested.
Here's the thing; photography is protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution.  The public has a right to take pictures in public spaces, and can take pictures of anything they can see from a public space.  There is no ordinance against photography because such an ordinance would violate the Constitution.

Even the Sun-Sentinel managed to get the facts right:
Earlier this week, the North Carolina-based photographers' group (National Press Photographers Association) sent a complaint letter to Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Franklin Adderley questioning the constitutionality of the trespassing signs.
The signs cite a city ordinance that does not, in fact, address trespassing or photography...
But the team at Channel 7 just can't wrap their heads around it:
The Society of Professional Journalists filed a lawsuit against ordinance (sic), saying the city law is unconstitutional.
I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that WSVN can't get the facts straight: after all, it is a Fox News station.

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