Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Worst Bit Of News...naah, this can't be, this is crazy!

The following from: Turn To 23 ABC Bakersfield
National Forest Service may start fining photographers for taking pictures
$1,500 photography permit may be required
Greg Newkirk,

In the worst bit of news for professional (and amateur) photographers since personal drones were banned from National Parks, The U.S. Forest Service has set into motion plans to fine picture-takers at least a grand for snapping images in any of the wilderness areas under their care, nearly 36 million acres of wilderness in all.

If the plans are finalized in November, any media with a camera, even a simple cell phone camera, will have to purchase a permit from the Forest Service if they plan on taking photographs in places like Mount Hood orMount Jefferson, permits that can cost nearly $1500. If they refuse, they risk being fined $1000 for the infraction. As you can imagine, this has given photographers everywhere a reason for concern.

"It's pretty clearly unconstitutional," Gregg Leslie, legal defense director at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Alexandria, Va told Oregon Live. "They would have to show an important need to justify these limits, and they just can't."
According to Leslie, the Forest Service hasn't shown any real-world justifications for the new law. Others belive that the new limitations are being set into place for a more nefarious purpose: to punish media outlets that report unfavorable stories about wildnerness areas by refusing future shooting permits.
"The Forest Service needs to rethink any policy that subjects noncommercial photographs and recordings to a burdensome permitting process for something as simple as taking a picture with a cell phone," U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said. "Especially where reporters and bloggers are concerned, this policy raises troubling questions about inappropriate government limits on activity clearly protected by the First Amendment."
The only time that new rules wouldn't apply is in regard to breaking news, such as a natural disaster.
Regardless of the reasoning, it's easy to see why such a change is a terrible idea, particularly when it comes to the fuzziness between who qualifies as media. Would a national news network with the ability to throw away nearly two grand be considered the same media as a self-funded photography blog? Is a journalism student with an iPhone comparable to a salaried news anchor for a local network? The new rules don't answer these questions, and the room for interpretation could mean that media access to wilderness areas will be only be available to those who can afford it.
Luckily, the Forest Service have opened themselves up for comment. Photogs, give 'em hell.
#13 Obama's favorite!

No comments: