Oscar-Nominated Filmmaker Activist Arrested for…Journalism. {Video}

Via on Feb 3, 2012

16 officers were sent to arrest Josh Fox while he was in the process of making a documentary film about the influence of oil and gas on the US government.

He was attempting to film The House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment hearings on EPA’s testing in Pavillion Wyoming. Public hearings.

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According to Common Cause, Andy Harris—the congressman who called for Josh’s arrest—received $44,000 from the gas industry last year.

Around this time last year, the oil and gas industry tried to silence Josh’s documentary film GASLAND, which had been nominated for an Oscar. GASLAND exposed the facts about hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—which is a means of natural gas extraction employed in deep natural gas well drilling. Once a well is drilled, millions of gallons of water, sand and proprietary chemicals are injected, under high pressure, into a well. The pressure fractures the shale and props open fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out of the well.

The truth that fracking contaminates groundwater is out, and no amount of intimidation tactics — either outright challenges to science or the arrest of journalists –will put the genie back in the bottle,” Fox said. “Such a brazen attempt to discredit and silence the EPA, the citizens of Pavillion and documentary filmmaking will ultimately fail and it is an affront to the health and integrity of Americans. ~Josh Fox

A statement from Josh after his release:

Finally home after an arduous but pretty darn amazing two days. I really didn’t expect to be arrested. I thought they would see that the 1st amendment should prevail. But I am glad that the bullying, shortsighted, lawless and corrupt behavior of the current congressional leadership and their relentless attacks on EPA and on the pursuit of truth has been exposed. They chose to attack science an…d journalism in one fell swoop, defending the oil and gas industry against the health of all Americans. I want to say thank you to everyone who voiced support over the last 48 hours. I especially want to thank Congressmen Brad Miller, Maurice Hinchey and Paul Tonka for coming to the defense of the freedom of the press. More to come. Thank you again. ~Josh Fox (from the GASLAND facebook page)

More about it from Current TV.
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Take action against fracking.

A glimpse of his trial (parody).

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The full story, from Reuters:

“GasLand” director Josh Fox has been processed and released following his arrest at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Fox, who was charged with unlawful entry for trying to film a House Science Committee meeting on hydraulic fracturing — aka “fracking” — is due in court on the matter Feb. 15.

But just because Fox is a free man again, doesn’t mean he’s placated. Fox issued a scathing statement from Washington, D.C., on Wednesday following his release.

“I was arrested today for exercising my First Amendment rights to freedom of the press on Capitol Hill,” Fox said in the statement. “I was not expecting to be arrested for practicing journalism.”

Fox, who’s currently working on his sequel to the HBO documentary, characterized his refusal to stop filming the hearing as “an act of civil disobedience” and claimed the Constitutional high ground over the legislators that had shut him out.

“It is my understanding that public speech is allowed to be filmed. Congress should be no exception,” Fox asserted. “No one on Capitol Hill should regard themselves exempt from the Constitution. The First Amendment to the Constitution states explicitly ‘Congress shall make no law…that infringes on the Freedom of the Press.’ Which means that no subcommittee rule or regulation should prohibit a respectful journalist or citizen from recording a public hearing.”

Fox and an ABC news crew had attempted to film a hearing to explore the Environmental Protection Agency’s investigation into whether the gas and oil-extraction process of hydraulic processing had contaminated the water supply in Pavillion, Wyoming. Fox’s 2010, Oscar-nominated documentary “GasLand” covered the topic extensively, as will its sequel.

During Wednesday’s incident, Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) pleaded to allow Fox and ABC to film the hearing. However, according to Politico, Republicans on the committee tabled Miller’s motion…

About Lynn Hasselberger

Lynn Hasselberger lives in Chicagoland with her son, husband and two cats. She loves sunrises, running, yoga, chocolate, and NYR, and has a voracious appetite for comedy. In her spare time, she blogs at myEARTH360.com and LynnHasselberger.com. A "Green Diva" and social media addict, you'll most likely find Lynn on twitter (@LynnHasselbrgr & @myEARTH360) and facebook. She hopes to make the world a better place, have more fun, re-develop her math skills and overcome her fear of public speaking. Like her writing? Subscribe to her posts.

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4 Responses to “Oscar-Nominated Filmmaker Activist Arrested for…Journalism. {Video}”

  1. Jill Barth says:

    I posted this to the Elephant Green Facebook page. Thanks for sharing!

    Jill Barth, Green Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Green on Facebook

  2. christopher says:

    Once again, another article that makes no mention of the fact that there was a webcast of the hearing. I'm very much opposed to fracking and I fear this is all just a publicity stunt.

    • Would love to have a link to that, Christopher. Thanks for mentioning it. And you have the right to your opinion. IMO, however, I don't think this is something the average citizen tunes in to. Josh Fox was filming the hearing for his ongoing quest to inform the public–in a palatable fashion–about the issues of fracking, its contamination of the water supply, and the oil + gas industry's influence on government. Josh said, "As a filmmaker and journalist I have covered hundreds of public hearings, including Congressional hearings. It is my understanding that public speech is allowed to be filmed. Congress should be no exception. No one on Capitol Hill should regard themselves exempt from the Constitution. The first amendment to the Constitution states explicitly "Congress shall make no law…that infringes on the Freedom of the Press". Which means that no subcommittee rule or regulation should prohibit a respectful journalist or citizen from recording a public hearing."

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