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Filmmakers Face Prison For Filming Pipeline Protests

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Two documentary filmmakers, Deia Schlosberg and Lindsey Grayzel, are facing felony conspiracy charges for filming protests at pipelines in North Dakota and Washington, respectively. The charges come following the arrest of actress Shailene Woodley for her role in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, and riot charges against journalist Amy Goodman, which were dropped.

If convicted of her charges, Schlosberg, a 36-year-old who produced the documentary “How To Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can’t Change,” would face 45 years in prison for covering the Dakota Access Pipeline protest, reports The Guardian.  

“Now here is the really bad news and this is why we need you to act right now,” filmmaker Josh Fox wrote in a Facebook post about Schlosberg’s arrest, reports The Ring Of Fire Network. “This afternoon she was escorted to the courthouse where she was charged with 3 Class A and C felony charges that carry 45 years maximum sentences combines. She has been charged with 2 Class A Felony Charges and 1 Class C Felony Charge; Conspiracy to theft of property, Conspiracy to theft of services, Conspiracy to tampering with or damaging a public service.”

"Whatever you think about the protests, you cannot believe that a person who is simply reporting -- freedom of the press, the First Amendment -- shooting the protests should be arrested and their footage confiscated,” Fox added, reports Reuters. “This is an outrage,"

“This reporter is being prosecuted for covering the North Dakota oil protests,” Edward Snowden, a whistleblower and freedom of information activist tweeted, notes The Guardian. “For reference, I face a mere 30 years."

Lindsey Grayzel and cinematographer Carl Davis were filming activist Ken Ward as he protested the Trans Mountain pipeline in Washington. The pair were arrested, and their recordings and equipment were seized. The two now face 30 years behind bars if convicted of their charges, which include felony burglary, criminal sabotage and misdemeanor trespassing.

“Everyone needs to be afraid when our First Amendment rights are in jeopardy,” Grayzel said. “This is not just about me. This is not just about Carl. This is not about Amy Goodman ... This is about the public’s right to know what is going on in this country.”

Sources: The Guardian, The Ring Of Fire Network, Reuters / Photo credit: Ben Grayzel via The Guardian

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