The First Amendment has come under assault on the streets of America. Since the Occupy Wall Street movement began, police have arrested dozens of journalists and activists simply for attempting to document political protests in public spaces.
The ubiquity of camera-ready smartphones has spawned legions of new journalists who can be found at every large-scale protest streaming and photographing close-up accounts of police actions and arrests. It's a new form of reporting that's open to anyone with a mobile phone and the resolve to get close to police and protesters.
As this type of reporting takes hold around the world and here in the United States, there’s an ever more urgent need to defend this new breed of journalists and protect their right to record.
Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and freedom of access to information are vital whether you’re a credentialed journalist, a protester or just a bystander with a camera.
While the media landscape has changed, our First Amendment rights haven't. Freedom of the press is more important, not less, when anyone with a mobile phone and an Internet connection can act as a journalist.