Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Criminal Law Concept: Protection Against Rabid Press & Paparazzi

Hello All,

This concept of mine will be very controversial due to the unrestrained News Media in our country. Where ownership of media outlets is by a handful of monopoly owners in America. What I am proposing is a standardized Rules of Engagement that the Press and Paparazzi must adhere to when pursuing the people of their next news / gossip scoop. Where this will be written into the penal code for law enforcement here in the States. (hopefully at a Federal level one day to come) The reason for such criminal legislation is readily apparent that the news media can not police their behavior or conduct. Much less the lunatic paparazzi that have gone as far as to aid in the death of a beloved Princess Diana. If the Press and Paparazzi wish to be treated as Predators of the public good than so shall it be.

I'll break down into 3 Stages of civilized conduct where the Press can get their story with prior consent. Besides beat back the throngs of unchecked paparazzi that can cause harm or destruction of property far too easily.

Beginning at Stage 3 and working my way backwards:

Stage 3:

The "Press & Paparazzi" will conduct their business in a modified version of a Restraining Order as a new subjected penal code category. Where upon a hybrid modification of harassment and/or stalker laws will apply to the fullest extent of the law. Where criminal penalties can be anything from a felony to a misdemeanor with additional imposed fines.

Those who have committed a suspected criminal act and are suspects (persons of interest) will be treated as presumed innocent until proven guilty. There are unfortunate a plethora of examples that the Press have marred criminal suspects that were later proven innocent. Where the court of public opinion has demonized such people where the damage to their reputation is despicable. Be it in televised talk programs that give more sensational opinion that critical thought as an example.

The "Presumed Innocent Until Proven Guilty" will be expanded from the court system to our Press. Where witnesses or suspects will not be tainted causing a high profile court hearing moved to a new venue.

Additional penalties could be:

1) Being charged with interfering in an ongoing criminal investigation that will include irresponsible members of the press or paparazzi.

2) Stalking or Harassment of witnesses or persons of interest.

3) An imposed monetary fine to the News Agency from a direct employee of the firm. If not a direct fine to a free agent news reporter or member of the paparazzi.

4) Confiscation of equipment be it: cameras, audio microphones, up to impounding of a news vehicle. Be it a satellite truck or to personal transportation of the press or paparazzi.

Any news making equipment that is confiscated must be stored in a appropriate storage facility that is both secure and if necessary temperature controlled. Upon release of the equipment a fee must be paid for the upkeep of the storage facility costs. Otherwise the property will be considered as forfeited and will be auctioned off by the State in order to generate revenue.

A Red Zone system will be devised around a protected person be it their residence or work place. Including a set distance of protection while in transit when in a personal vehicle. For any criminal case witness or person of interest (suspect) the Press or Paparazzi seek out to cover as news worthy. A modified version of sexual predator penal code will be utilized for the allowable set distance.

A Red Zone will be treated as a "No Go Zone" of enforceable protections. Akin to a perimeter that no trespassers could cross or the squatters of news vehicles and their respective news crews.

Stage 2:

Will apply to public figures be they celebrities or politicians up to diplomats. Where similar restrictions will apply under the Stage 3 provisions. Except that for politicians or elected / appointed public officials of the State. Will continue to be monitored by the Press when on State grounds. (IE Congress, Governors Mansion, Fund Raisers, Banquets, etc...)

In terms of Paparazzi that may utilize cheap tactics of colliding with a celebrities personal vehicle. In order to facilitate a impromptu photo opportunity of an angered celebrity or their personal staff. It will be considered a Hit & Run criminal penalty whether it was accidental or an overt act.

Additional protections for those under Stage 2 will be when in transit. Be it for work related or personal leisure, such as: roadways, marine vessels, or aircraft. Including personal accommodations on resort / hotel property, or guest private property grounds. For ground vehicle transportation a set distance must always be adhered to when tailing a celebrity occupied vehicle. When a celebrity is on a yacht up to a cruise ship that any non-staff personal accommodations must be situated at a set distance. Celebrities such as authors or others yet still conducting a work related workshop on a cruise ship. Will have amended restrictions in order to interact with others as a form of prior consent. Celebrities or Politicians utilizing public air liners will also have a set distance of protection during transit. From unwanted persons in order to maintain their privacy, staff of course is excluded from such interactions. During a stay at a hotel / resort property a red zone restriction will also be in place. Besides if a celebrity or politician is staying in a guest residence of a friend or relative.

The only exception is if a agreed to form of consent disclosure is utilized to gain an exclusive interview or photo shoot. Where any employee or sub-contracted workers (including other guests of the news staff) personal cell / smart phones will be switched off. Where undisclosed hidden cameras or audio microphones will be forbidden.

Stage 1:

Will be anyone else that the news media outlets or paparazzi wish to pursue under news coverage. Similar to Stages 2 & 3 in a "Red Zone" of a personal residence, workplace, or in a personal vehicle whilst in transit.

Exclusions: Such as the use of personal sport vehicles of: ATV / Quads, Snow Mobiles, Bicycles, Roller Blades / Skate Boards, Wheel Chairs (hand powered or electric) are fair game to the paparazzi or the news makers. As long as a person of interest (suspect), witness, celebrity, politician, diplomat, common person is not in their aforementioned "Red Zone".

The United States needs a uniform version of a standardized set of protections from unwanted intrusions from the Press or Paparazzi media outlets. Otherwise our civil liberties will continue to be diminished and humane treatment of others will continue to be in decline.