sins of commission

 

 
 
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Posts Tagged ‘California Constitution’

Filmmaker Defends First Amendment Rights Against California Coastal Commission

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Filmmaker Richard Oshen’s documentary film SINS OF COMMISSION www.sinsofcommission.com has been subpoenaed by the primary star of the film, the California Coastal Commission.

The film, the first behind-the-scenes look at decades of alleged government corruption and malfeasance by the highly secretive Commission, features a first time in-depth, on camera interview with Peter Douglas, the Commission’s executive director of 20 plus years, as well as with former Commission members.

The sweep of the subpoena includes “all visual and/or audio recordings…as well as Mr. Oshen’s unpublished “Sins of Commission DVD.”

-David Greene, The First Amendment Project

The filmmaker believes the Commission is determined to stop the release of this film and is doing everything in its power to stop it, and Oshen sees the subpoena as the first step.

It’s a sad commentary for America when a government commission at the heart of an investigative documentary film, can summon a work print and raw footage of the film that they believe is exposing their decisions.  If they have nothing to hide - what are they afraid of?

-Richard Oshen, SINS OF COMMISSION producer/director

Oshen believes that the reporter’s privilege, based on the First Amendment and the Liberty of Speech Clause of the California Constitution, applies to him and all documentary filmmakers, as well as print journalists.

Other courts have found that the reporter’s privilege applies to documentary filmmakers, most notably in Silkwood v. Kerr McGee and the same constitutional privilege of press applies to SINS OF COMMISSION - even though the documentary film lacks a distribution deal or a filmmaker, like Richard Oshen, has not previously produced a documentary film.

The First Amendment Project is defending Mr. Oshen and SINS OF COMMISSION and set forth objections in a letter to the CCC. David Greene, staff attorney and executive director at First Amendment Project says the Supreme Court of the United States recognizes the privilege based on the broad protections for Freedom of the Press, extends to documentary filmmakers.

The litmus test is whether the information sought was obtained during the course of gathering information for dissemination to the public - which Sins of Commission was.

Constitutional protection afforded a documentarian to shield his journalistic work product from subpoenas benefits not only that documentarian, but the public in general.

-David Greene, The First Amendment Project

He added that without these protections, news gatherers of all kinds would be discouraged from investigating, and the public would ultimately suffer by being denied access to important information.

For more information, contact David Greene at The First Amendment Project (510) 208-7744 or Richard Oshen 909 547-6262, sinsofcommission@gmail.com



 
 
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