WGAE statement regarding the latest court ruling involving Joe Berlinger and his documentary Crude:
“In response to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s latest ruling, the Writers Guild of America, East reaffirms its support of filmmaker Joe Berlinger’s independence as a journalist and his rights under the First Amendment. As Mr. Berlinger himself stated, the ruling that a journalist must affirmatively establish editorial independence to maintain the press privilege ‘is a sea change in the law. The standards it articulates for determining independence will unfortunately deter a great deal of important reporting by independent journalists.’ The court’s ruling fails to fully understand the nature of news and documentary reporting and will have a chilling effect on journalists who constantly receive information from sources representing a variety of interests and points of view – tips that lead to stories vital to the public interest and the public’s right to know.”The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO, is a labor union representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media, and broadcast news. The WGAE conducts programs, seminars, and events on issues of interest to, and on behalf of, writers. In addition, it represents writers’ interests on the legislative level. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit www.wgaeast.org.