Seven Tips for Photographers Covering Protests

By Kevin Eck 

WUSA reporter Russ Ptacek is reminding journalists what their rights are when covering events like the Freddie Gray protests in Baltimore, Md.

Ptacek got the tips below from National Press Photographer’s Association general counsel Mickey Osterreicher, who wrote a pamphlet about covering “high conflict news stories.”

Here are Osterreicher’s seven tips to protect yourself if you’re confronted by police while trying to take pictures from a public space:

  1. – Be polite.
  2. – Stay calm.
  3. – Explain your understanding of your right to photograph/record.
  4. – Keep recording or have someone else record the interaction.
  5. – Comply with request unless you are willing to be arrested.
  6. Carry government issued identification and press identification if you are working for a news organization.
  7. Photograph with a partner

“When covering demonstrations, protests, marches and rallies you should be aware that there is a risk of arrest,”¬†writes Osterreicher in the pamphlet. “Just because you may be a journalist, have a camera or believe that you have a lawful reason for being present to observe, document and report on these events does not provide immunity from being arrested along with those participating in these events. For example do not expect that you will be able to cross or walk through police lines. If you need to do so it is always advisable to seek permission before acting. ”

Click here to read Osterreicher’s pamphlet on the NPPA website.