Taking photographs, gathering information about a planned event and disseminating a report to a public audience should not be characterized as criminal conspiracy; instead, these activities make up the basic process of news gathering.
Bob Lee, Santa Cruz County District Attorney
701 Ocean Street, Room 200
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
By First Class Mail
Dear Mr. Lee:
We are deeply concerned by your office’s decision to prosecute Bradley Stuart Allen, a longtime San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (“Indybay”) contributor, as well as by assertions from your office that: (1) a reporter may be prosecuted for conspiracy simply by providing coverage of a newsworthy event and (2) Indybay is not a bona fide news organization.
SPJ is especially disturbed that your office is prosecuting Allen for conspiracy on the grounds that by covering the occupation, he was acting in concert with the protesters. Your theory is a dangerous threat to the freedom of the press. The information available to us indicates that there is no evidence Allen acted in concert with the protesters; he was merely reporting on their activities. The imposition of criminal conspiracy liability on journalists based solely on their reporting of criminal activities would chill the very acts of news gathering and dissemination that the First Amendment was designed to protect.
Continue reading “Society of Professional Journalists letter to Santa Cruz DA in support of Indybay reporter Bradley Stuart Allen”