Freedom of Expression

Drop the Charges Against Deia Schlosberg

* Update November 30, 2016: Deia Schlosberg’s prosecution has been officially suspended by the state of North Dakota. Thank you for lending your voice to protect freedom of expression.

On October 11, Deia Schlosberg was arrested while filming activists as they attempted to shut down oil pipelines between Canada and the United States. She was acting as a journalist, not a protester, and as such is protected by the first amendment.

Prosecutors claim that Schlosberg conspired with Michael Foster and Samuel Jessup to damage the pipeline. The complaint says that Schlosberg was recruited to film the action and that she traveled in the same vehicle as the activists. She faces 2 Class A felony charges and 1 Class C felony charge including conspiracy to theft of property, conspiracy to theft of services, and conspiracy to tampering with or damaging a public service. These charges could amount to 45 years in prison.

Schlosberg claims that she was not involved in the protest but that she was recording it as part of her work as a documentary filmmaker. According to Schlosberg, “I was filming the action. I was on public land. I was on a public road and at no point trespassed, at no point, you know, broke in or destroyed any property. I had nothing to do with the planning of the event. I was there to document it. I think it’s essential for journalists to — journalists and filmmakers to go where the mainstream media is not. And there’s a major hole in the coverage of climate change and people that are already dealing with the consequences of climate change and people that are fighting climate change. So, I take that responsibility very seriously.”

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