The American Society of Media Photographers strongly condemns the July 23rd ruling by a King County, Washington Superior Court that attempts to force the Seattle Times and four other news outlets to turn over to law enforcement unpublished photographs and video of the racial justice protests on May 30th.
The state court found that these organizations were not protected by “shield” laws that were designed to prevent such compelled delivery of reporters’ unpublished materials. This is flatly unacceptable.
As our sister association the National Press Photographers Association noted: “This ruling places all journalists in further danger — especially in Seattle. Journalists across the country are operating in perilous, dynamic conditions to inform society on matters of extreme public concern during an unprecedented health crisis. This ruling unnecessarily pits the free press against the public they report for, and forces them — against their will — to aid the government they are obligated to hold accountable through their reporting.”
ASMP will defend the rights of all photographers and journalists who have been placed in this position, and will stand with these organizations as they fight this unjust example of judicial overreach.