News-Gathering Techniques A 'Core Issue' In Cellphone Video Case

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On Wednesday morning, the U.S. Court of Appeals will hear a case that hinges on the right to openly record police conduct. It's a lawsuit that stems from an incident on the Boston Common in 2007, when then 30-year-old Simon Glik saw officers making what he thought was an overly forceful arrest. Glik, an attorney, began recording the scene with his cellphone.

Officers then arrested Glik, and he was charged with wiretapping, aiding the escape of a prisoner and disturbing the peace.

The charges were eventually dismissed, but the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts decided to file a suit on Glik's behalf, claiming police violated his First Amendment rights.

"Police officers still seem to think that if they haven't given their permission, that people don't have the right to record them, and that simply is not true," said the ACLU's Sarah Wuncsh.

Jeffrey Hermes, assistant director of the Citizen Media Law project at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, joined Morning Edition Wednesday to talk about the implications of this case.

"This case involves some core issues involving news-gathering, and the ability of not only members of the public in general, but media outlets in particular, to gather news through the use of recording devices in public," Hermes said.

This program aired on June 8, 2011.

Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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