I stopped by Occupy Boston the other day to do some filming. People were very interested in talking to me. A graduate student asked me for bus money. One guy insisted that I film his friend attempt to buy lemonade from a street vendor. The girl at the end of this video lectured me on the illegality of filming people at a public protest. She was from The Occupy Boston Globe. Curiously, people were on edge about me filming them so I stopped and found some more friendly faces to chat with.
If I was serious about documenting the #occupy protest, I would be down there every day. I might sleep in tents with the students but I might not want to eat their food. I’d immerse myself with the group but I’d stay objective.
The talking to me at the end of the video was not the first to complain about the #occupy security team. The protesters conceded to assemble a security team to protect the group from drug addicts and thieves. Apparently, some individuals who opted to accept the responsibility have abused the power. I collected some reports of alcohol.
An ethical question I would like to discuss here is regarding filming people without getting their permission. My idea is that the purpose of a public protest is to be seen and therefore a person who participates in a public protest on public property ought to accept the inevitability of unauthorized photography and video. If I were to sell my video and make money from it, they might have a case. Finally, as a journalist, my intent is to document the activity for public record.. If I were to stop and ask permission, I would certainly miss the event I intend to document.
I will return to Dewey Square to film more later this week. Maybe tomorrow I will have some time to do some filming. I would like to document the activity of the direct action tent, the library and the security team. Let’s hope that I am able to put my charming face forward and they won’t turn me away.