Mon March 4, 2013
Indiana Bill Would Outlaw Videotaping of Farm, Industrial Operations
A bill moving through the Indiana General Assembly would make it illegal to photograph or videotape a farm or industrial operation with the intent to defame, embarrass or otherwise harm the business.
The measure’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Travis Holdman, says it’s intended to prevent what he calls vigilante groups from disrupting the operation of a private business.
"We don’t know what’s going to be next, folks, if we don’t protect our private property, to hold sacred what goes on on our private property," Holdman said in a floor speech last week.
Holdman says his bill has an exemption for whistleblowers who have legitimate reason to believe there’s illegal activity going on, and those who turn the evidence over to police within 48 hours.
But bill opponent Sen. Karen Tallian, a Democrat, says it would unfairly punish journalists conducting undercover investigations into things like the abuse of workers or animals.
"The free press is not limited to registered members of the press corps. The second thing is this thing puts a criminal penalty on the truth," Tallian said.
The bill cleared the state Senate last week and is now up for House consideration.