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Bloomberg Confronted as Camera Ban Set for Enforcement

Aaron Dykes / | August 2, 2007


New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was confronted outside of his Manhattan residence yesterday. Reporters affiliated with and tried to ask Bloomberg if his new film policy is meant to be an attack on the First Amendment, which is demonstrably the case.

Bloomberg did not respond as he moved directly to his vehicle, but security asked reporters to "keep their distance." The film policy, which would restrict public filming in a period lasting longer than 30 minutes for those who do not have a permit from the city, is scheduled for enforcement starting August 3rd.

Nate Evans of notes that local papers have portrayed the new policy as a "crackdown," insinuating that filming on public streets is somehow criminal. Police have already taken the same view in far too many cases-- including confiscating and even destroying cameras.

The WeAreChange crew has already been labeled as "terrorists" for filming on public streets and been told that their cameras are "weapons" or "bombs." In other cases across the country, people have been charged with 'wiretapping' for filming of police officers publicly.

The only true threat has been to the credibility of the establishment itself, as video technology has been effective in documenting unfair treatment, threats of arrest and criminal behavior by police and in recording statements by politicians and other figureheads who would rather not be held accountable for their words, statements and policies. One NYPD officer even told reporters recently that he was 'not a public servant' and was not even allowed to make public statements.


Bloomberg himself proved this statement when he was again confronted by reporters on the subway. Over a twenty minute span, Bloomberg refused to answer any questions about the film ban, as well as a number of other subjects, choosing only to comment that the 'weather was nice,' according to Luke Rudkowski, a reporter for and (Footage of that incident is forthcoming.)

Now, WeAreChange plans to join other demonstrators outside Mayor Bloomberg's Madison Ave. & E. 79th Street residence on August 3 at 5 p.m. in an act of civil disobedience that they hope will send a message about the unfair and unconstitutional new filming policies.

Those outside of the residence intend to violate the policy proviso that prohibits using a camera on public streets for longer than 30 minutes without a city permit as well as a $1 million insurance policy-- which, if upheld, codified and accepted for enforcement would be a decisive step backwards in the trend of "democratized" technology and would almost certainly stymie the work of independent filmmakers, alternative media and, theoretically, even tourists. It leaves an open door for police to selectively enforce the imposing policy in violation of first amendment rights-- which guards not only freedom of speech, but also the freedom of the press.

Police have previously stated that they intend to start enforcing the new policy on August 3 , so this demonstration may prove to be the first true test of what that enforcement will look like, and if it will be allowed to stand and eventually spread throughout the country until the First Amendment becomes an altogether gray line blurred under certain impending tyranny.

For more information about the August 3rd demonstration at E. 79th and Madison Ave. in New York, set for 5 p.m., visit 

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