Sunday, October 23, 2016

Another Journalist Arrested, Jailed For Covering Anti-Pipeline Protests In North Dakota.

Filmmaker Deia Schlosberg was arrested in North Dakota
for filming anti-pipeline demonstrators and could face
up to 45 years in prison. Add caption 
Last week, I thought sanity finally prevailed when a North Dakota judge dropped charges against Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman.

She'd documented an anti-oil pipeline demonstration by Native Americans that turned rather violent. (Guards for the company building the pipeline pepper sprayed protestors and threatened them with attack dogs.)

Goodman was charged with "rioting," mostly because her film of the incident turned viral, but a judge last week said the charge was unwarranted.

Yay! right?

Um, no.

Another journalist/film maker, Deia Schlosberg, was arrested in North Dakota more than a week ago and faces up to 45 years in jail, charged with conspiracy, along with activists Samuel Jessup and Michael Foster.

Reuters says the criminal complaint accuses Schlosberg of agreeing with Jessup and Foster two weeks in advance to "engage in conduct that would constitute theft of property" and of traveling to the pipeline site in the same vehicle as Jessup and Foster.

According to Reuters and other sources, Schlosberg was taken into custody early this month. For 48 hours, she was reported denied access to a lawyer.

The reports don't make clear what Schlosberg was supposedly going to steal, and of course a documentarian with a point of view would travel with people she's interviewing, and probably agreeing with.

Reuters said the Pembina County Sheriff's Office has repeatedly declined to comment. As if shutting up will make this mess go away.

Especially with the publicity this latest round of North Dakota anti-First Amendment censorship is getting.

A number of random celebrities are rallying around Schlosberg, including Neil Young, Mark Ruffalo,
and Daryl Hannah.

Whether the celebrities have any influence or not, North Dakota prosecutors really need to brush up on their Constitution.

I'm sure Schlosberg's work has a specific point of view, a slant, a bias, if you will, that North Dakota prosecutors don't like.  I'm guessing for sure she's on the side of the anti-pipeline demonstrators.

Of course those prosecutors are under no requirement to like her work. They, too have the First Amendment right to say she's biased, her journalism is unfair, her work is shoddy, if that's what they believe. They can yell these opinions from the rooftops and we'll all just have to suck it up and let them.

That's the deal in America.

What the state's attorneys and prosecutors in North Dakota can't do is shut journalists and documentarians up via criminal charges because they don't like what they're saying, or the way they're saying it.

State sponsored censorship, anyone?

State's Attorneys in North Dakota are elected positions, and it would be interesting to find out to what extent the oil pipeline companies contribute to their campaigns. I wonder how much those likely contributions are influencing decisions to press charges.

Meanwhile, the protests against the pipelines continue in North Dakota, with or without people filming it. About 80 people were arrested in demonstrations Saturday, says Reuters. 

No comments:

Post a Comment