The NPPA is an active advocate for the legal rights of visual journalists. Our work includes issues connected to First Amendment access, drone regulations, copyright, access and credentialing, cameras in court, “ag-gag” laws, unlawful assault on visual journalists and cases that affect the ability to record events and issues of public interest. Our work benefits not only individuals but the public at large.
You can support this advocacy by making a tax-deductible donation to NPPA Legal Advocacy and Education through the National Press Photographers Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization charged with advancing photojournalism through education and awarding scholarships and fellowships to deserving individuals.
December, 2020 - In a year that has been exceptionally polarizing for media coverage, our general counsel Mickey Osterreicher and Alicia Calzada, worked unflinchingly in support of members’ rights. When members were detained or arrested during protests, they called Mickey or Alicia for advice, assistance and support.
Here are articles (that are updated as they are published) where our legal Advocacy for the NPPA has been involved.
The NPPA urges accountability for police who violate journalists’ rights and has long been at the forefront of the rights of citizens and journalists to document police performing their official duties in a public place.
- June 2021: International Association of Chiefs of Police magazine, Police-Press Relations by Mickey Osterreicher
- We asked public officials to clarify that newsgathering is “essential”.
- We partnered with the Press Freedom Defense Fund (PFDF), a program of First Look Media to enhance and support extensive legal advocacy programs for journalists who have been arrested or injured while covering news stories, as exemplified during the nationwide protests over George Floyd’s death while in police custody.
- We joined the Press Freedom Defense Fund (PFDF) in opposing the ruling by a Seattle judge ordering local news media to provide their unpublished photographs and video footage to police from the protests on May 30, 2020.
- Mickey participated in a panel discussion about Police & The Press in June.
- In July and August, in conjunction with RCFP and CPJ, we participated in a series of free training sessions for journalists covering the 2020 elections.
- We sent a letter to Sacramento's Police chief and mayor expressing disappointment in the new media policy issued in May, 2020, by the Sacramento Police Department.
- We joined media organizations (CPJ, NYNPA, NYPPA, PFDF, RTDNA, SPJ) in a lawsuit to uphold NYPD-issued press credentials and Mickey testified remotely at a public hearing.
- In September, Mickey and Alicia submitted comments to the U.S. Copyright Office asking it to consider the First Amendment impact on photographers who experience copyright infringement by state entities.
- Most recently, we sent a letter to the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices requesting that "journalists who have direct contact with the public on a regular basis, and particularly visual journalists, be expressly included in the phase of the COVID - 19 vaccine that includes the essential and critical infrastructure workforc
- On Aug. 5, 2021, in response to the beatings, arrests, and harassment they experienced while covering last summer's racial justice protests, the NPPA in partnership with Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, filed a federal lawsuit seeking to hold the New York City Police Department accountable for its violation of their First Amendment rights on nehalf of five news photographers.
In 2019, NPPA was a plaintiff in multiple lawsuits challenging unconstitutional laws and policies that affect photographers’ First Amendment rights. Our Advocacy team helped prevent an increase in fees for copyright registration.
After several years of advocacy and grassroots efforts by a coalition that includes NPPA, the CASE Act – bipartisan legislation that would create a copyright small claims tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office – passed the House and made significant progress in the Senate.
“Infringement takes a direct economic toll on these small business owners, and takes time, energy and money away from their work as journalists,” Osterreicher said. In November 2019, we explained how a federal court ruling that will protect photojournalists from suspicionless searches of their cell phones, cameras and laptops mirrors a lawsuit filed a decade ago by NPPA. And we are helping photographers navigate the legalities of drone journalism while fighting unconstitutional restrictions of newsgathering on the ground and in the air.
Other efforts include NPPA joining in amicus (friend of the court) briefs in support of many of the issues facing journalists. Multiple stories about our Advocacy work and NPPA news can be found here.
The National Press Photographers Association’s Advocacy Committee is led by NPPA Advocacy Chair and Attorney Alicia Wagner Calzada and NPPA General Counsel Mickey H. Osterreicher. The committee works to further the NPPA’s mission of advancing visual journalism by addressing local and federal policy issues that affect our members’ ability to provide the public with news images. The official spokesperson of the NPPA is always the sitting president and all advocacy committee activity is done with the knowledge and approval of the president who is automatically a member of the committee.
Whether working with government agencies and leaders or participating in “friend of the court” briefs on cases affecting news photographers, the Advocacy Committee diligently monitors issues affecting visual journalists and works to ensure that their voices are heard.
On a case-by-case basis the Advocacy Committee also addresses individual issues affecting the right of the public and the press to document and record images in order to protect those constitutional freedoms.
NPPA Advocacy Committee Contacts
Alicia Wagner Calzada, Esq: [email protected]
Mickey H. Osterreicher, Esq.: [email protected]
For more NPPA Advocacy Committee view our Legal Resources.