Photojournalism ethics and law


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Photojournalism ethics and law

  1. 1. PHOTOJOURNALISM (things you need to know) LAW & ETHICS "Any time there is a yellow line, some journalists in the interest of news will cross over” – Anne Seymoure, National Victim
  2. 2. THE LAW The U.S. Supreme Court forbids the use of cameras in: a) Federal but not state courts b) State and federal courts c) State but not federal courts d) All courts unless authorized by that court In the early 1900s, the American Bar Association issued the 35th canon of Professional and Judicial Ethics. Most states adopted Canon 35 to ban photographers from their courtrooms. Before the ruling, a judge could independently decide whether to ban news photographers.
  3. 3. Privacy laws, as can be imagined, are much stricter for private citizens not involved in a news story than for public celebrities who sometimes invite media attention. Photojournalists need to be aware of the laws that are concerned with privacy and trespass. But ethical behavior should not be guided by what is strictly legal. A quarterly publication of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press titled, "Photographers' Guide to Privacy," is helpful in sorting out the areas of privacy law that affect news photographers. Privacy law is divided into four areas: •unreasonable intrusion into the seclusion of another – just get consent •public disclosure of private facts – don’t misrepresent, states have different laws •placing a person in a false light in the public eye – be careful of reckless disregard
  4. 4. Over the years, some commonly recognized legal principles of privacy have evolved, based on federal and state laws and court cases. As applied to photography, these principles protect individuals from anyone: a) Unfairly causing someone to look bad b) Taking truthful but embarrassing photos c) Using a picture to sell a product or service without consent d) Intruding by taking pictures where privacy could be reasonably expected e) All of the above
  5. 5. Which of these statements is true? a) When taking photos of children in a special education class, getting the teacher’s permission is sufficient. b) For a newspaper to run a photo of a mentally or physically disabled child, they must have the consent of the parent or guardian. c) People who are victims of crime, accidents or “Acts of God” have what is called “public medial conditions,” and are fair game for photographers: even if they are in an ambulance, the photographer does not need permission.
  6. 6. To prove that a photograph is libelous: a) It must be proved that the photojournalist combined text with images to cause emotional or mental distress b) It must be proved that the photojournalist acted with willful disregard for the truth c) It must be proved that the photojournalist acted unprofessionally and/or negligently d) Both b & c
  7. 7. Which of these statements concerning copyright laws is false? a) For your company to own your work, you must be a full- time employee, and your employer must pay benefits and give you specific assignments. b) If you freelance, you have copyright protection of your work as soon as you take the picture, and develop the film or save it to a digital file. c) Accepting an assignment from a newspaper, magazine, website, or any other kind of company does not make you an employee of that organization, and you keep the copyright unless a special agreement was made. d) “First-time rights” refers to your option to register an image with the Copyright Office in case someone tries to use the photograph without your permission.
  8. 8. Which of these statements about court subpoenas for negatives is accurate? a) The law that shields reporters and photographers from court subpoenaing negatives and notes is federal, and applies to all 50 states. b) Existing state shield laws provide no protection for photographers who have witnessed a crime. c) Freelancers and student photojournalists are often not covered by shield laws, even when reporting on major news events. d) Destroying photographs sought by a subpoena is a unheard of among professional organizations.oncerning
  9. 9. Explain the case of Florida Publishing Co. (Times Union) v Fletcher: When Cindy Fletcher, 14, died in house fire, her mother learned about it in the next day’s newspaper. The story included a photograph that showed where her daughter’s burned body left a charred silhouette on the floor. •Who sued, and why? Her mother sued the paper on the grounds that the photographer had invaded their home, hence their privacy. • What was the court’s finding? The court found that the photographer had the right to enter the house. • What was the court’s rationale for their findings? The police and fire marshal had invited the news photographer into the home, and to take photos for their investigations. The court ruled this was “common custom,” and was not considered trespassing.
  10. 10. Explain the case of Cape Publishing v. Bridges (1982) A Florida woman sued the newspaper for millions of dollars after shewas kidnapped by her estranged husband, Clyde Bridges and forced to remove all of her clothes. When police surrounded the apartment building, Bridges killed himself. Behind police lines, Scott Maclay of the Cocoa Today newspaper was waiting with a 300mm lens. The photograph Maclay made shows a frightened woman, disrobed, but partially covered by a dishtowel, running with a police official who's face shows deep concern with his hand firmly grasping the woman's shoulder. The picture of Hilda Bridges' rescue ran large on the front page. The newspaper's editor said that the picture "best capsulated the dramatic and tragic events” Bridges claimed that her privacy had been invaded because she was naked. A lower court awarded the woman $10,000. On appeal, the decision was overturned. The key in court cases seems to hinge on the conduct of the news photographer or the news medium. "If the conduct is so extreme, so 'beyond all possible bounds of decency' . . . then one may be found guilty of intentional infliction of emotional distress”
  11. 11. In Tawa Ayeni v CBS Inc., the judge ruled that while law enforcement officials generally have a right to enter private property to conduct a reasonable search, this privilege is not extended to photojournalists along for the ride. The judge ruled that bringing a camera into the home is a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens from “unreasonable search and seizure.” This differs from Fletcher, in that Fletcher was an investigation, and the court ruled that it is common practice to invite photographers into crime scenes.
  12. 12. In which of these places is a journalist allowed to shoot without permission? a) Zoos, grade school classrooms, and lawns of people’s homes b) Train stations, bus stations and museums c) Parks, porches visible to the public, and university campuses d) Sidewalks, streets and movie theater lobbies
  13. 13. ETHICS If a news event occurs on public property, photographers have a legal right to cover the event so long as they do not interfere with the police or the free flow of traffic. - Police and fire officials, however, have the right to restrict any photographer who might interfere. - Photographers who disregard police orders can be arrested for disorderly conduct. - Thus, you are free to take pictures in public on public property: on a street, on a sidewalk, in public parks, or a zoo. You can also take pictures inside an airport, as well as public schools and universities. You must ask permission to take pictures of a class in session.
  14. 14. In which of these places can a photographer shoot only with permission? a) Hospitals, airports, military bases b) High schools, grade schools, museums c) Shopping malls, casinos, legislative chambers d) Doctor’s offices, emergency vans, classes in session
  15. 15. ETHICS Having permission to take a photo, however, does not relieve you of the need to exercise good judgment and good taste. This incident happened in a public park. But what are the ethics of showing a victim in extreme distress? Would you run it?
  16. 16. ETHICS The statement, “photographers have a moral responsibility to their readers to present the world accurately,” most closely reflects this ethical philosophy: a) Utilitarian b) Absolutist c) The Golden Rule
  17. 17. The __________ principle is defined by “the greatest good for the greatest amount of people.” a) Utilitarian b) Absolutist c) The Golden Rule
  18. 18. The decision not to run a photograph in a newspaper of a mother grieving over a child who has been injured or killed by a drunk driver would be an example of the ______________ ethical principle: a) Utilitarian b) Absolutist c) Golden Rule
  19. 19. Which if these scenarios would be least likely considered an ethical breach? a) The photographer arrives late to a ground-breaking ceremony for a new building, and asks the dignitaries to repeat portions of the ceremony. b) The photographer asks someone at their place of work to walk in front of their camera “like they normally do” so a picture can be made. c) The photographer needs to get a photograph of a defendant in court. His view is obscured, so he photographs the back of someone else, and in his caption he claims it is the defendant. d) These are all considered equally poor choices, according to a survey of professional photographers and editors.
  20. 20. In Kobres “continuum of photographic control,” the following is the correct order for ranking situations, from the easiest to control to the most difficult: a) Hard news, features, sports, portraits, photo illustrations b) Portraits, photo illustrations, sports, features, hard news c) Photo Illustrations, portraits, features, hard news, sports d) Photo Illustrations, features, portraits, sports, hard news
  21. 21. According to Paul Lester’s Photojournalism: An Ethical Approach, which of these is not one of the conditions that editors should be aware of when running shocking pictures: a) Pictures containing dead bodies b) Pictures run in color c) Pictures printed in a morning paper d) Pictures depicting children in war e) Pictures containing nudity f) Pictures with no accompanying story
  22. 22. Which of these statements about Stanley Forman’s series of photographs showing a women and her child falling from a collapsed fire escape is not true? a) Because of their shocking content, the photographs were only used by a handful of papers across the country. b) The woman died but the child survived. c) Forman won the Pulitzer Prize for his work on this story. d) The images contributed to a change in fire-safety laws in Boston.
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