2011-01-15 New York Times: Documentary filmmaker doesn't qualify for a journalist's privilege, says court

A US court decision appears to draw a line between advocacy and journalism that could have dangerous consequences for other publishers and artists.

New York Times:

A federal appeals court has ruled that Joe Berlinger, a filmmaker who was ordered to hand over footage from his 2009 documentary “Crude” to the Chevron Corporation, cannot invoke a journalist’s privilege in refusing to do so because his work does not constitute an act of independent reporting. ...

In a decision issued on Thursday concerning Mr. Berlinger’s contention that he was protected as a journalist from being compelled to share his materials, the Second Circuit judges said they did not find the argument, which his lawyers presented to the court in July, to be persuasive.

“Given all the circumstances of the making of the film,” the judges wrote, “as reasonably found by the district court, particularly the fact that Berlinger’s making of the film was solicited by the plaintiffs in the Lago Agrio litigation for the purpose of telling their story, and that changes to the film were made at their instance, Berlinger failed to carry his burden of showing that he collected information for the purpose of independent reporting and commentary.”

Via @jeffjarvis on Twitter

Ruling Appears Deflectable

The WikiLeaks video, "Collateral Murder" was not produced at the "solicitation" of a "plaintiff" in a litigation for the purpose of telling their [plaintiff's] story", as was the case of Joe Berlinger in this report. Therefore, it appears that Julian Assange's lawyers should be able to deflect this one easily. But then again governments are known for changing definitions and their own rulings frequently to suit their purpose.

Therefore strong public support for WikiLeaks - positive Public Social Preferencing - continues to be in the interest of all wide view long range reasoned thinkers - those who understand that pulling the curtain of secrecy from around the "wizard" (government) has the greater than not likelihood of maximizing the lifetime happiness of each of them.

Kiss your freedom goodbye ...

Consider how much money the US has poured into China since the Clinton Presidency.

Consider the fact China is on the verge of becoming the world’s biggest economy.

Consider the fact China refuses to acknowledge human rights abuses or incorporate freedoms in its move toward “democratization.”

Consider how the Patriot Act has, by suppressing rights and freedoms, shifted the US toward dictatorship and away from democracy.

Now envision a realignment of the world’s power bases. It is conceivable the US would loosen its alliances with European nations and organizations and become a far darker force with China as its principal economic and military ally in the world. Russia will form tighter links with western Europe. Canada, Australia and New Zealand may remain loyal to The Commonwealth and build stronger trade agreements amongst themselves while seeking to retain democratic freedoms for their citizens. I'm only speculating, as it is my deepest hope saner minds - such as those guiding the US Treasury decision not to blacklist WikiLeaks - will prevail.

Oh my god. The sh**'s hit the

Oh my god. The sh**'s hit the fan.

Assange, never come to the US!

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