There are number of essential “ingredients” needed to make democracy work:
- Freedom of speech
- Free and open elections
- A free press
- Transparency in all government affairs (not related to national security)
Don’t let anyone fool you about the right of a person to take photographs in a public place; that’s a constitutionally guaranteed right that is protected by the First Amendment. Those who would deny you the right to take picture in a public place, have something to hide.
In recent months, we’ve seen too many examples of local police stopping the media and private citizens from taking pictures of police actions. Private security teams working for the various Republican Presidential candidates, have physically challenged a number of reporters, photographers and videographers.
Just last week, Oscar nominated documentary producer, Josh Fox was arrested as he attempted to film a House Science Committee hearing on hydraulic fracturing. Josh produced the widely recognized documentary, “Gasland,” that exposed the physical dangers and health hazards of fracturing. We shouldn’t be all that surprised that a conservative Republican like Rep. Ralph M. Hall (TX), Chairman, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, wouldn’t want more damaging information about a dangerous, but profitable industry practice, be brought to light. “Profits before people,” remains the unofficial mission statement of most Republican legislators. It’s a shame that any Chairman of a House Committee can order Capital Hill Police to perform acts that defy the
Constitution of the United States.
Two weeks ago at the Sundance Film Festival, the open-collaborative production company hitRECord in cooperation with the Florida chapter of the ACLU, released a short animated video about the First Amendment rights of photographers entitled, They Can’t Shut the Lights off Now.
Popular actor and activist, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, asked a number of artists to assist him and The Gregory Brothers in creating the images and music that make this video both, informative and entertaining. Pass it on to other freedom loving Americans who are concerned about growing efforts to limit access to truth.