NPPA Joins Opposition Of Proposed New Jersey Transit Corp. Ban On Photography

Nov 1, 2005

DURHAM, NC – The National Press Photographers Association has joined with the Society of Professional Journalists, the Radio-Television News Directors Association, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in opposition of a proposed ban of photography on New Jersey public transportation and its property by the New Jersey Transit Corporation, a ban that excepts members of the press and other authorized individuals only under certain special conditions.

NPPA’s pro bono legal counsel in First Amendment matters, Kurt Wimmer, of the law firm Covington & Burling in Washington, DC, has filed a legal brief with the agency on behalf of NPPA opposing the adoption of the New Jersey Transit Corporation’s proposed new photography ban.

In a letter to George D. Warrington, the executive director of New Jersey Transit Corporation, commenting on the proposed new rules, NPPA and the other press groups expressed opposition to the ban because it would, in counsels’ opinion, violate the First Amendment rights of photojournalists and other photographers; the ban would not achieve New Jersey Transit’s goal of enhancing national security or passenger safety by preventing intelligence gathering activities on New Jersey Transit property; and it would impair the ability of photojournalists to perform their job effectively. 

In opposing the photography ban, Wimmer and attorneys for the other organizations point out that the proposed change in rules would not leave open any alternative means for photographing on New Jersey Transit’s property, and that the proposed ban by itself is unconstitutional.