The Right to Photograph & Record in Public program — a one-day seminar for journalists, for law enforcement officers and organizations and for members of the public — will address First and Fourth Amendment rights, search and seizure, exigent circumstances, federal civil rights lawsuits against police agencies as well as an analysis and update on the most recent cases and court rulings dealing with these issues.
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Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, will discuss the “coextensive” right of both the press and the public to photograph and record as well as provide practical advice regarding the best ways to handle these situations.
The seminar will also discuss the impact of social media and the use of drones in newsgathering.
The benefit for law enforcement personnel is to teach them to avoid costly federal civil rights lawsuits that have cost municipalities money they can ill afford to pay. The benefit for journalists is to educate them as to their rights to photograph and record police officers and other public officials in the performance of their duties.
The seminar will be jointly sponsored by the Houston Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the PIO Network, an organization comprising the public information officers of police and sheriff’s departments, fire departments, emergency management agencies and other non-profit organizations that deal with health and safety issues and emergency response.
The date, time and location of the seminar are to be determined, pending the securing of funding. Funds will be used to pay for Mr. Osterreicher’s travel expenses as well as incidental expenses to promote and stage the program. We are in contact with several non-profit organizations to secure a venue at little or no cost to the organizations stage the program and possible venues include the Pasadena, Texas Civic Center and the Houston Fire Department Training Academy.