The ubiquity of smartphones has spawned legions of new journalists who can be found at political protests streaming and photographing accounts of police actions and arrests. This form of reporting is open to anyone with a mobile phone and the resolve to get close to police and protesters.
Over and over again people have chronicled policing that some cops and corporate media don’t want us to see. This is particularly true in the case of the Black Lives Matter movement, where witnesses have used phones to document police brutality.
As this type of reporting becomes more and more common, there’s an urgent need to protect the right to record.
Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and freedom of access to information are vital whether you’re a credentialed journalist, a protester or just a bystander with a camera.
While the media landscape has changed, our First Amendment rights haven't. Freedom of the press is more important, not less, when anyone with a mobile phone and an internet connection can act as a journalist.