Journalists File Lawsuit Against City of Fort Lauderdale
UPDATE: 6/16/2011 from SPJ South Florida Pro President Michael Koretzky:
This is a casual affair. We don’t have to sit together if you’re feeling antisocial. As long as we eat and/or drink outside and take pictures – with an SLR, point-and-shoot, or smartphone – we’re sticking up for the First Amendment.
Take pictures of each other taking pictures. If the police tell you to stop taking pictures, you have two choices…
1. You can indeed stop. Others will document it. Mission accomplished.
2. You can keep going until you’re arrested. If that happens, I will personally bail you out of the Broward County jail.
Most likely, nothing will happen. This will probably be low-key and anticlimactic. Please bring your friends. Best bet for parking is down the side streets or in the parking garage catty-corner to Tarpon Bend.
For those showcasing their photos online:
We will be putting together slideshows and photo galleries. Share your photos on our Facebook page, tweet at @SPJSoFla, or use the hashtag #FTLlunch. If you have high-res photos, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Norm Kent, attorney at law and SFGN publisher, email@example.com
• Carlos Miller, publisher and founder of Photography is Not a Crime, firstname.lastname@example.org and 305-431-8300
• Michael Koretzky, SPJ South Florida president, email@example.com and 954-292-7515
JOURNALISTS FILE LAWSUIT AGAINST CITY OF FORT LAUDERDALE
Also announce a “lunch-in” to protest ban on all photography near movie set
Noted South Florida attorneys Norm Kent and Russell Cormican of Kent & Cormican PA, along with the South Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday challenging Fort Lauderdale’s ban on all photography – amateur or professional – within several hundred yards of the filming of the Hollywood movie Rock of Ages, starring Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Alec Baldwin.
Fort Lauderdale police have told at least two professional photographers they cannot shoot from a public area, and the policy precludes anyone from taking pictures even as they dine at restaurants that are within a city block of Revolution, the nightclub movie producers have rented for the past few weeks.
“The police have become unwitting agents of unconstitutionality,” says Kent, who also publishes South Florida Gay News. “Freedom of expression, which includes photography, cannot be controlled by movie studios from Hollywood, even if Tom Cruise is in the film.”
If the city doesn’t rescind its policy, on FRIDAY, JUNE 17, noted South Florida photographer Carlos Miller will join SPJ for a “lunch-in.” Professional photographers and citizen supporters of the First Amendment will descend on Southwest Second Street at 1 p.m. to buy lunch – carrying and clicking their SLRs and smartphone cameras.
“It’s obvious these cops are protecting the interests of the moviemakers over the interests of the Constitution they are sworn to protect,” says Miller, a Miami multimedia journalist who runs a nationally renowned website called Photography Is Not A Crime. “And they are opening themselves up to huge lawsuits in the process.”
SPJ South Florida president Michael Koretzky explains that the “lunch-in” is not a formal protest because SPJ doesn’t want the city invoking its right to deny a protest permit.
“We’re simply going downtown to have lunch with 100 of our closest friends and First Amendment allies,” says Koretzky, a freelance journalist. “We’re going to buy lots of food and take lots of pictures – of each other, of police, of buildings, of everything. We plan to be well-fed criminals.”