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Freedom of the Press: New California Bill will make recording & sharing undercover videos illegal

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Assembly Bill 1671, which would make it a crime for journalists to post and report on certain undercover videos, even though they didn’t make the videos.

That’s right. In California, such videos are already illegal, because they don’t have permission of all parties to be recorded. But if Bill 1671 passes, reporters who are sent those videos, or find them, couldn’t post them and write stories about them. Mainstream, alternative, freelance reporters—it wouldn’t matter.

Even more bizarre, Bill 1671 specifies undercover videos that secretly record “healthcare providers.” These are the videos targeted by the Bill.

Nick Cahill, at the Courthouse News Service, has the story. Here are key quotes. Buckle up:

“Controversy surrounding secretly recorded videos showing Planned Parenthood employees discussing fetal tissue sales has morphed into a California proposal that would punish media companies for reporting on certain undercover videos. But media groups say the bill, which is on the verge of clearing the Legislature, could have a ‘chilling effect’ on free speech and set the state up for First Amendment court battles.”

“Born from the 2015 hidden-camera footage released by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress, Planned Parenthood is pushing Assembly Bill 1671 which it claims will protect abortion clinics and other health care providers from similar malicious sting operations.”

“The bill would criminalize publishing undercover video footage of ‘health care providers’ and subject third parties, including journalists, to penalties for reporting and distributing the illegally recorded footage.” [My comment: It appears criminal penalties could be applied to anyone who posts the videos and comments on them, online. Not just reporters.] – READ MORE

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