A letter sent to Senate leadership on Tuesday said the restrctions "exceeded those put in place during the State of the Union, Inauguration Day, or even during the Clinton impeachment trial 20 years ago."
The ACLU of Massachusetts says that the law, which was originally written to protect citizens from government surveillance, is now used to punish people for exercising their First Amendment right to gather information about public officials.
The newest law is the state’s second attempt to stop journalists and activists from going undercover to report on meat processing plants, livestock facilities, and puppy mills. An older version of the bill was struck down as unconstitutional in January.
The civil liberties groups brought the case on behalf of five photojournalists who traveled to Mexico last year to document migrants' efforts to reach the U.S.-Mexico border. In addition to lengthy interrogation, some of the journalists say border officers compelled them to disclose photographs and notes they had taken as part of their reporting.
On November 11, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and freelance journalist Avi Adelman reached a settlement after a DART police officer illegally arrested Adelman and then lied about the circumstances of the arrest.
According to the plaintiff’s complaint, Daniel Robbins was filming outside a police department in May 2018, having noticed that a police vehicle had been parked in a “no parking” spot. Citing suspicious behavior, the officers detained Robbins, seized his cell phone, recording equipment, and memory cards.
The newspaper has since put out a statement defending "the belief that every party named in a story has a right to comment or contest criticism leveled against them" as a way to "ensure the integrity, fairness, and accuracy" of their reporting.
The 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals have all held that the First Amendment protects people who record police officers performing their official duties in public.