Friday, September 26, 2014

UPDATE: Forest Service Nixes Proposed Photo, Video Restrictions in Wilderness

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 9:21 AM

Photos like this one taken on the edge of the Monument Rock Wilderness Area in Eastern Oregon, would have been a problem under the Forest Service's new regulations. - THE OREGONIAN
  • The Oregonian
  • Photos like this one taken on the edge of the Monument Rock Wilderness Area in Eastern Oregon, would have been a problem under the Forest Service's new regulations.

UPDATE:

The U.S. Forest Service has done a 180 on its plan to impose restrictions on photography and video in U.S. wilderness, The Oregonian reports

"The U.S. Forest Service remains committed to the First Amendment," said USFS Chief Tom Tidwell in a statement. "To be clear, provisions in the draft directive do not apply to news gathering or activities."

According to the statement, Tidwell wanted to clarify that the proposed restrictions would not require permits for news gathering or recreational photographs in U.S. wilderness areas, though he didn't explain why spokespeople for the Forest Service told The Oregonian just the opposite Sept. 23.

That's when Acting Wilderness Director Liz Close told the press that the Forest Service would indeed require permits, costing up to $1,000, to report from wilderness areas, making exceptions for breaking news.

The permits, Close said, would apply to everything from high-definition video to iPhone snapshots. 

ORIGINAL POST:

New rules that could be finalized in November by the U.S. Forest Service are giving First Amendment advocates concerns, The Oregonian reports

The restrictions are on the media—specifically, reporters will have to pay up to $1,500 for permits and approval to film or take photos in U.S. Forest Service lands or face up to $1,000 in fines. Critics have said that the rules are vague and critically ignore press freedoms, while the Forest Service has argued that the rules help preserve the untamed character of U.S. wilderness.

"It's pretty unconstitutional," Legal Defense Director at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Gregg Leslie. "They would have to show an important need to justify these limits, but they can't."

Forest Service Acting Wilderness Director Liz Close defended the new rules, arguing that the Forest Service is implementing the Wilderness Act of 1964, which was written to protect wilderness areas from exploitation and commercial gain.

This isn't the first time Forest Service rules regarding recording in the wilderness has generated controversy. In 2010, Idaho Public Television was denied access to Idaho wilderness to film a student conservation crew under a previous set of restrictions, but the Forest Service ultimately gave in to political pressure exerted by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter. 

Tags: , , , , ,

Pin It
Favorite

Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

 

Comments are closed.

Join the conversation at facebook.com/boiseweekly
or send letters to editor@boiseweekly.com.

© 2018 Boise Weekly

Website powered by Foundation