WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Group Calls for Federal Law for Recording Police

Jul 7, 2020

RTDNA is calling for the federal government to remove any ambiguity about the right of the public and journalists to record or broadcast live any police officer's activity. The organization said that guaranteeing this right is an important measure of accountability for any agent acting as a public official – especially officers of the law.

The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which includes Illinois, has ruled police can be lawfully recorded.  The 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which includes Iowa and Missouri, has not ruled whether police can be lawfully recorded.

The RTDNA pointed out that just because a federal appeals court has not ruled on this issue does not necessarily mean recording police is unlawful or otherwise prohibited. Some individual states and/or local governments in that circuit might have laws on the books that allow police to be recorded.

Shop Talk is a weekly panel discussion about journalism issues.  This week’s program featured Will Buss, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at Western Illinois University and advises the student editors at the Western Courier, the students at student radio station The Dog, and the WIU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists; Rajvee Subramanian, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at Western Illinois University; and TSPR News Director Rich Egger.

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