[links in on-line article]
Published on Tuesday, October 18, 2016
by Common Dreams
'I Was Doing My Job': Climate Reporter Facing 45 Years Speaks Out
Deia Schlosberg, filmmaker arrested for documenting climate protest,
says she believes felony charges are 'unjust'
by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
The filmmaker facing a lengthy prison sentence for documenting a
nonviolent civil disobedience action last week has spoken out on behalf
of journalism, the First Amendment, and the global climate movement.
Deia Schlosberg, an independent filmmaker and climate reporter, was
arrested last week in Walhalla, North Dakota for filming the
unprecedented #ShutItDown protest held in solidarity with the Dakota
Access Pipeline protests.
"When I was arrested, I was doing my job," Schlosberg said in a
statement released Tuesday. "I was reporting. I was documenting.
Journalism needs to be passionately and ethically pursued and defended
if we are to remain a free democratic country. Freedom of the press,
guaranteed by the First Amendment, is absolutely critical to maintaining
an informed citizenry, without which, democracy is impossible."
According to documentarian Josh Fox, whose new film Schlosberg produced,
She was held for 48 hours before being allowed to speak to a
lawyer. The authorities confiscated her footage. She is now charged with
three counts of felony conspiracy and faces a possible sentence of up to
Saying she believes the charges "are unjust," Schlosberg offered a
passionate defense of independent journalism that's covering the most
important issues of our time:
I am a climate reporter; my specialty is following the story of how
humankind is creating a grave problem for civilization by continuing to
flood the atmosphere with greenhouse gases through the burning of fossil
fuels and other industrial processes. I don't think there is nearly
enough reporting on climate change nor the movement of people around the
world working to lessen the impacts of climate change.
It is the responsibility of journalists and reporters to document
newsworthy events, and it is particularly important for independent
media to tell the stories that mainstream media is not covering. The
mainstream did not break the story on fracking nor did it break the
story about what is happening at the Standing Rock reservation in North
Dakota, nor the stories told in my most recent film with Josh Fox, How
to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change.
Accordingly, I felt I had a duty to document the unprecedented
#ShutItDown climate action, which stopped all Canadian oil sands from
entering the United States. Canadian oil sands importation is a
controversial issue that is not getting the coverage it warrants,
especially considering that the extraction and use of oil sands has a
profound impact on every person on this planet.
Schlosberg concluded by drawing attention to fellow videographers
Lindsey Grayzel and Carl Davis, who were arrested in Washington state
last week for filming the same action and also face preliminary felony
charges. Grayzel told Reuters that her footage was also confiscated.
"For reporters who are simply doing their job, which is their
constitutionally protected right, to be facing such charges is an
outrage," she said.
On Monday, North Dakota dismissed riot charges against Democracy Now!
journalist Amy Goodman. The development drew praise, though Reporters
Without Borders noted that the charges "never should have been filed in
the first place."
Schlosberg also posted a short video on Facebook over the weekend,
thanking people for their support and vowing to "say more in the coming
days and weeks." Watch below:
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