National Press Club

National Press Club concerned about charges against filmmakers

October 24, 2016 | By John M. Donnelly | jdonnelly@cq.com

National Press Club President Thomas Burr expressed concern Monday about reports that independent filmmakers have been arrested for documenting environmentalists’ protests of oil pipelines across four states.

Filmmakers Deia Schlosberg and Lindsey Goodwin-Grayzel and cameraman Carl Davis, who were documenting protests, were arrested and charged with felonies, including conspiracy and burglary, according to news reports.

Schlosberg was arrested in North Dakota and faces charges of second-degree burglary, trespassing, criminal sabotage, and "assemblage of saboteurs," the filmmaker told the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Goodwin-Grayzel and Davis have been charged in Washington state with felonies, including robbery and trespassing.

All three documentary filmmakers face jail time and fines.

"These filmmakers say they were producing independent documentaries and were not involved in the protests," said the National Press Club's Burr. "Prosecutors need to be able to distinguish between those recording an event and those participating in it, and they must respect the First Amendment rights of those documenting the protest."

Broadcast journalist Amy Goodman of Democracy Now had been charged with trespassing for filming pipeline protests in North Dakota but the charges against her have been dismissed.

The National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. Through its Press Freedom Committee, the NPC works to promote freedom of expression and transparency at home and abroad. The club's nonprofit affiliate, the NPC Journalism Institute, provides professional development training and supports the next generation of journalists.

Contact: John M. Donnelly, NPC Press Freedom Committee chairman: jdonnelly@cq.com; 202 746 6020.