ASNE opposes rules requiring permit for filmmaking, photography
ASNE was one of 18 organizations that sent a letter to National Forest Service in protest of a proposal to make rules that require a permit for filmmaking and still photography. This concerns ASNE as the NFS personnel will invoke the permit requirement on a regular basis in a manner that restricts legitimate newsgathering.
ASNE was one of 18 organizations that sent a letter to National Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell that protested a proposal to make permanent certain "interim" rules, which create a permitting requirement for commercial filmmaking and still photography, and to create new criteria applicable to the issuance of permits for filmmaking and still photography on "congressionally-designated wilderness areas."
The issue came to light when the National Forest Service, a division of the Department of Agriculture, issued its Notice of Proposed Directive on Sept. 4. The NFS has followed an interim directive regarding commercial filmmaking and still photography on forest service lands. Those interim rules require a permit whenever filmmaking or photography involves the use of models, sets or props that are not a part of the natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities of the site where the activity is taking place. The interim rules also say that permits may be required if the NFS incurs additional administrative costs as a direct result of the still photography activity or when the still photography activity takes place at a location where members of the public generally are not allowed. However, permits are not required in "breaking news" situations, defined as "an event or incident that arises suddenly, evolves quickly and ceases rapidly to be newsworthy."
Our concern is that the NFS personnel will invoke the permit requirement on a regular basis in a manner that restricts legitimate newsgathering, a valid concern given reports included in recent stories on this subject, which have appeared in The Oregonian, The Seattle Times and The Denver Post.
ASNE also plans to file more extensive comments with the NFS and urges interested members who might be affected by these rules to do the same. We understand that the comment period has been extended to Dec. 3. Members who have questions regarding this issue can contact ASNE Legal Counsel Kevin M. Goldberg at 703-812-0462 or firstname.lastname@example.org.