Derek Bauer Decries "Chilling Effect" of Conviction of Citizen Journalist in Georgia

News / December 11, 2017

Partner Derek Bauer is quoted in an article published by the Daily Report on Dec. 6, 2017. The article, “First Amendment Lawyers Say Conviction of Citizen Journalist Could Lead to More Media Arrests,” reports on the recent conviction of a Georgia citizen journalist and videographer on a misdemeanor obstruction charge, even though a jury cleared her of felony obstruction and criminal trespass.

Bauer, whose clients include an Atlanta NBC affiliate television station, said, “I think the jury verdict will empower authorities, particularly in smaller communities, to be more aggressive with confronting journalists in covering events. If the authorities feel the juries will not defend the press, a few prosecutions will have a significant chilling effect. I know my clients will be watching the sentencing phase carefully.”

Bauer added that the verdict “seems to be confirmation that the public’s trust in and support for journalists as impartial and independent observers continues to erode in the current political climate.

“Regardless of how any appeal may come out,” Bauer said, “the Tisdale verdict is undoubtedly a prominent cautionary tale for newsrooms throughout Georgia and will likely embolden law enforcement to be more forceful in future encounters with the press.”

Read the article (registration required).