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'Gasland' Director Arrested At House Science Committee Hearing

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  • 'Gasland' Director Arrested At House Science Committee Hearing

    'Gasland' Film Director Arrested at US Capitol Hearing | Common Dreams



    Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Josh Fox was handcuffed and led away Wednesday while attempting to film a House Science Committee hearing on fracking.
    The "Gasland" director was attempting to film the hearing which is looking into the EPA's investigation of water contamination from fracking in Pavillion, Wyoming. Josh was filming the hearing for his upcoming film "Gasland 2."

    Subcommittee chairman US Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) objected to the presence of Mr. Fox and his crew as well as another crew from ABC.

    “This is a public hearing!” Josh shouted as he was led away. “I’m being denied my First Amendment rights.”

    Approximately 16 Capitol Hill police officers entered the hearing room and handcuffed Josh amid audible discussions of "disorderly conduct" charges, according to Democratic sources who spoke to the Huffington Post.

    The filmmaker did not have "proper credentials", and an ABC News crew did not make the committee aware that they would be filming, according to the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill.

    UPDATE: The US Capitol Police have issued a statement on the arrest:

    "At approximately 10:30 a.m. today, United States Capitol Police arrested Joshua Fox of Milanville, Pa. in room 2318 of the Rayburn House office building. He is charged with unlawful entry, and he is currently being processed at United States Capitol Police headquarters."
    What do you think? Should an academy-award nominee be barred from a public congressional hearing for merely trying to document the hearings?

    Or is Josh Fox a dangerous criminal who has a record as a repeat offender defying the laws of this great nation?



    Josh Fox on the Daily Show in 2010:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mo...w--15080-pt--3

  • #2
    Re: 'Gasland' Director Arrested At House Science Committee Hearing

    Washington sure has gotten more transparent, hasn't it?

    מה מכילות החדשות?


    • #3
      Re: 'Gasland' Director Arrested At House Science Committee Hearing

      The guy's movie "Gasland" is an excellent investigative piece about fracking and the dangers thereof. Here's the trailer of it here. It's one of the best docs in recent years. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZe1AeH0Qz8

      It's totally unprecedented that this kind of thing happen, since non-accredited journalists tend to sit in just as often as the accredited ones during those public proceedings.

      He wasn't there to protest or to interrupt the session, but merely to film it. And of course, to Republicans, who still in the land of AM radio, they think that the footage of them won't exist otherwise if they get him outta the room.

      מה מכילות החדשות?


      • #4
        Re: 'Gasland' Director Arrested At House Science Committee Hearing

        Originally posted by Formaldehyde View Post
        What do you think? Should an academy-award nominee be barred from a public congressional hearing for merely trying to document the hearings?

        Or is Josh Fox a dangerous criminal who has a record as a repeat offender defying the laws of this great nation?
        As Larry FLynt put it, the 1st Amendment was created for people just such as himself. What he meant by this it there will be times that we will find something repulsive and completely against our grain but that we must allow the talk and expression or we will not be free.

        The act of filming a public display is a very thin line on Rights but I think he should have the Right to film it and why didn't they arrest any of the ABC people?

        מה מכילות החדשות?


        • #5
          Re: 'Gasland' Director Arrested At House Science Committee Hearing

          Originally posted by Wlessard View Post
          As Larry FLynt put it, the 1st Amendment was created for people just such as himself. What he meant by this it there will be times that we will find something repulsive and completely against our grain but that we must allow the talk and expression or we will not be free.

          The act of filming a public display is a very thin line on Rights but I think he should have the Right to film it and why didn't they arrest any of the ABC people?
          Yea, we certainly don't want any citizens to know that hydraulic fracking could be hazardous to their health and our water supply. That would be repulsive!


          "Republicans care more about property, Democrats care more about people"
          Ted Sorensen

          מה מכילות החדשות?


          • #6
            Re: 'Gasland' Director Arrested At House Science Committee Hearing

            Gasland was a very good documentary, quite an eye opener, and I look forward to Gasland 2.

            Are people normally allowed to film these public hearings? I'm a bit confused as to why he was arrested.

            מה מכילות החדשות?


            • #7
              Re: 'Gasland' Director Arrested At House Science Committee Hearing

              The only possible objections I can see to filming at a public hearing would be in those with cameras presuming they had rights to space and lines of sight non-filmers didn't. I suppose one could require any footage of a hearing not be released until the final decisions were made by a hearing so that those who weren't' present at the hearing wouldn't be allowed opportunity to influence decisions based on limited and incomplete viewing of the hearing.
              I'm seeing no grounds for arrest even extending the situation to accept the limitations presented above. At worst one should lose access to their recording until the conclusion of the hearing and be ejected from the hearing if they were being a nuisance.

              מה מכילות החדשות?


              • #8
                Re: 'Gasland' Director Arrested At House Science Committee Hearing

                "Gasland" director responds to arrest; court date set - chicagotribune.com

                "Gasland" director responds to arrest; court date set
                Tim Kenneally
                Reuters
                8:02 p.m. CST, February 1, 2012

                LOS ANGELES, Feb 1 (TheWrap.com) - "GasLand" director Josh Fox has been processed and released following his arrest at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Fox, who was charged with unlawful entry for trying to film a House Science Committee meeting on hydraulic fracturing -- aka "fracking" -- is due in court on the matter February 15.

                But just because Fox is a free man again, doesn't mean he's placated. Fox issued a scathing statement from Washington, D.C., on Wednesday following his release.

                "I was arrested today for exercising my First Amendment rights to freedom of the press on Capitol Hill," Fox said in the statement. "I was not expecting to be arrested for practicing journalism."

                Fox, who's currently working on his sequel to the HBO documentary, characterized his refusal to stop filming the hearing as "an act of civil disobedience" and claimed the Constitutional high ground over the legislators that had shut him out.

                "It is my understanding that public speech is allowed to be filmed. Congress should be no exception," Fox asserted. "No one on Capitol Hill should regard themselves exempt from the Constitution. The First Amendment to the Constitution states explicitly 'Congress shall make no law...that infringes on the Freedom of the Press.' Which means that no subcommittee rule or regulation should prohibit a respectful journalist or citizen from recording a public hearing."

                Fox and an ABC news crew had attempted to film a hearing to explore the Environmental Protection Agency's investigation into whether the gas and oil-extraction process of hydraulic processing had contaminated the water supply in Pavillion, Wyoming. Fox's 2010, Oscar-nominated documentary "GasLand" covered the topic extensively, as will its sequel.

                During Wednesday's incident, Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) pleaded to allow Fox and ABC to film the hearing. However, according to Politico, Republicans on the committee tabled Miller's motion.

                Toward that end, Fox took a swipe at Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner in his statement.

                "When I was led out of the hearing room in handcuffs, John Boehner's pledge of transparency in congress was taken out with me," Fox said.

                Asserting that hydraulic fragmenting is an environmentally damaging practice, Fox predicted that lawmakers' efforts to keep the hearing under wraps would ultimately prove futile.

                "The truth that fracking contaminates groundwater is out, and no amount of intimidation tactics -- either outright challenges to science or the arrest of journalists --will put the genie back in the bottle," Fox said. "Such a brazen attempt to discredit and silence the EPA, the citizens of Pavillion and documentary filmmaking will ultimately fail and it is an affront to the health and integrity of Americans."
                Wow.

                מה מכילות החדשות?


                • #9
                  Re: 'Gasland' Director Arrested At House Science Committee Hearing

                  He didnt follow the rules. And the constitution gives congress the right to make rules regarding their process. Its valid for him to argue he has a right, as a member of the press, to freedom, but I dont think Fox would agree that means absolute freedom. He might have a case if he followed the rules and was denied a request to record the committee.

                  Then again, he makes money off his documentaries. Is he press or entertainment? That what the congress has to decide when granting credentials.

                  מה מכילות החדשות?


                  • #10
                    Re: 'Gasland' Director Arrested At House Science Committee Hearing

                    You do understand what a documentary is? That the media regularly videotapes public congressional hearings, and so do totally despicable individuals like Roger Moore whose documentaries are hated and vilified by so many reactionaries? That congressmen typically like this because they might get to be seen on TV to impress their constituents, wives, and kids, and to show they are the victims of people like Roger Moore?

                    מה מכילות החדשות?


                    • #11
                      Re: 'Gasland' Director Arrested At House Science Committee Hearing

                      How is a documentary differnt from reality tv? The point is, should congress consider anyone wanting to film a committee and distribute that film as 'press' and therefore covered under the constitution. Im not taking a position, simply being logical. Fox is claiming protection as press, and therefore has to be recognized as press. He did not get press credentials however, and therefore under congresses rules may not act as the press at the committee.

                      מה מכילות החדשות?


                      • #12
                        Re: 'Gasland' Director Arrested At House Science Committee Hearing

                        Originally posted by Formaldehyde View Post
                        You do understand what a documentary is? That the media regularly videotapes public congressional hearings, and so do totally despicable individuals like Roger Moore whose documentaries are hated and vilified by so many reactionaries? That congressmen typically like this because they might get to be seen on TV to impress their constituents, wives, and kids, and to show they are the victims of people like Roger Moore?
                        Did you by chance mean Michael Moore? Or has Sir Roger Moore's post-Bond work for UNICEF offended your racing sensibilities?

                        מה מכילות החדשות?


                        • #13
                          Re: 'Gasland' Director Arrested At House Science Committee Hearing

                          Hopefully there's more to the story than you've put here, but barring that, it does sound like he was perfectly within his rights to record the hearings.
                          ( Despite the fact that at first glance I probably don't agree with his politics... )

                          מה מכילות החדשות?


                          • #14
                            Re: 'Gasland' Director Arrested At House Science Committee Hearing

                            Originally posted by Evil_inKarlate View Post
                            Hopefully there's more to the story than you've put here, but barring that, it does sound like he was perfectly within his rights to record the hearings.
                            ( Despite the fact that at first glance I probably don't agree with his politics... )
                            What about the lack of credentials?

                            מה מכילות החדשות?


                            • #15
                              Re: 'Gasland' Director Arrested At House Science Committee Hearing

                              Originally posted by jviehe View Post
                              What about the lack of credentials?
                              Good question.

                              This is from the "Rules Governing Procedure, Committe on Science, Space, and Technology:

                              From rule 2 (skip ahead to the bolded part below for the tl;dr version):
                              (f) AUDIO AND VISUAL COVERAGE.‐
                              (1) Whenever a hearing or meeting conducted by the Committee is open to the public,
                              these proceedings shall be open to coverage by audio and visual means, except as provided in Rule XI
                              4(f)(2) of the House of Representatives.
                              (2) To the maximum extent practicable the audio and video coverage shall be in a manner that allows
                              the public to easily listen to and view the proceedings.
                              (3) Operation and use of any Committee internet broadcast system shall be fair and nonpartisan and in
                              accordance with all other applicable rules of the Committee and the House.
                              (4) To the maximum extent practicable, the Committee shall maintain the recordings of the coverage of
                              such hearings or meetings in a manner easily accessible to the public.
                              (5)The Chair of the Committee or Subcommittee may not limit the number of television, or still cameras
                              to fewer than two (2) representatives from each medium (except for
                              legitimate space or safety considerations, in which case pool coverage shall be authorized).
                              (6) Radio and television tapes, television films, and Internet recordings of any
                              Committee hearings or meetings that are open to the public may not be used, or made available for use,
                              as partisan political campaign material to promote or oppose the candidacy of any person for elective
                              public office.
                              (7) It is, further, the intent of this rule that the general conduct of each meeting or hearing covered
                              under authority of this rule by audio or visual means, and the personal behavior of the Committee
                              Members and staff, other government officials and personnel, witnesses, television, radio, and press
                              media personnel, and the general public at the meeting or hearing, shall be in strict conformity with and
                              observance of the acceptable standards of dignity, propriety, courtesy, and decorum traditionally
                              observed by the House in its operations, and may not be such as to:
                              (A)distort the objects and purposes of the meeting or hearing or the activities of Committee Members in
                              connection with that meeting or hearing or in connection with the general work of the Committee or of
                              the House; or
                              (B) cast discredit or dishonor on the House, the Committee, or a Member,
                              Delegate, or Resident Commissioner or bring the House, the Committee, or a Member, Delegate, or
                              Resident Commissioner into disrepute.
                              (8) The coverage of Committee meetings and hearings by audio and visual means shall be permitted and
                              conducted only in strict conformity with the purposes, provisions, and requirements of this rule.
                              (9) The following shall apply to coverage of Committee meetings or hearings by audio or visual means:
                              (A) If audio or visual coverage of the hearing or meeting is to be presented to the public as live coverage,
                              that coverage shall be conducted and presented without commercial sponsorship.
                              (B) The allocation among the television media of the positions or the number of television cameras
                              permitted by a Committee or Subcommittee Chair in a hearing or meeting room shall be in accordance
                              with fair and equitable procedures devised by the Executive Committee of the Radio and Television
                              Correspondents' Galleries.
                              (C) Television cameras shall be placed so as not to obstruct in any way the space between a witness
                              giving evidence or testimony and any member of the Committee or the visibility of that witness and that
                              member to each other.
                              (D) Television cameras shall operate from fixed positions but may not be placed
                              in positions that obstruct unnecessarily the coverage of the hearing or meeting by the other media.
                              (E) Equipment necessary for coverage by the television and radio media may not be installed in, or
                              removed from, the hearing or meeting room while the
                              Committee is in session.
                              (F) (i) Except as provided in subdivision (ii), floodlights, spotlights, strobe lights, and flashguns may not
                              be used in providing any method of coverage of the hearing or meeting.
                              (ii) The television media may install additional lighting in a hearing or meeting room, without cost to the
                              Government, in order to raise the ambient lighting level in a hearing
                              or meeting room to the lowest level necessary to provide adequate television coverage of a hearing or
                              meeting at the current state of the art of television coverage.
                              (G) If requests are made by more of the media than will be permitted by a Committee or Subcommittee
                              Chair for coverage of a hearing or meeting by still photography, that coverage shall be permitted on the
                              basis of a fair and equitable pool arrangement devised by the Standing Committee of Press
                              Photographers.
                              (H) Photographers may not position themselves between the witness table and the members of the
                              Committee at any time during the course of a hearing or meeting.
                              (I) Photographers may not place themselves in positions that obstruct unnecessarily the coverage of the
                              hearing by the other media.
                              (J) Personnel providing coverage by the television and radio media shall be currently accredited to the
                              Radio and Television Correspondents' Galleries.
                              (K) Personnel providing coverage by still photography shall be currently accredited to the Press
                              Photographers' Gallery.
                              (L) Personnel providing coverage by the television and radio media and by still photography shall
                              conduct themselves and their coverage activities in an orderly and unobtrusive manner. [House Rule XI
                              (4)]
                              http://science.house.gov/sites/repub...iles/rules.pdf

                              Television, radio, and and still photography personnel must be accredited. No mention of other types of media personnel like documentary or webcast (unless I missed it). That seems shady, but the rules are written as such.

                              Also, there's no mention of the requirement for the committe to be notified ahead of time that media will be filming, so it is unclear why they removed ABC from the hearings (the article in the OP claims that the ABC news crew was thrown out because they "did not make the committee aware that they would be filming".) Again, maybe I just missed it in the rules above.

                              edit: the good news, if I'm not mistaken, is that these hearings are recorded anyway, and available for the public.

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