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Michael Donaldson Publishes Op-Ed in IndieWire Analyzing the PRESS Act’s Impact on Documentary Filmmakers

Michael Donaldson recently published an op-ed in IndieWire highlighting the importance of the Protect Reporters from Exploitative State Spying (PRESS) Act, which was unanimously passed by the House of Representatives in January 2024. The op-ed, titled “Want to Protect Your Documentary from the Federal Government? Read On,” explores how the bill, initially created to protect journalists and reporters, positively impacts non-fiction and documentary filmmakers as well.

“PRESS makes no mention of documentary filmmakers because they’re presumed: Federal courts uniformly include documentary filmmakers in their definitions of journalists. However, documentarians stand to be one of the bill’s biggest beneficiaries,” Donaldson writes. 

He explains that the bill prevents the government from requiring filmmakers to provide outtakes from their documentary footage, except for rare cases involving preventing terrorism or violence. “This bill protects source-identity information along with records, contents of communication, or information obtained or made in the course of work,” he continues.

Read the full op-ed in IndieWire:

Want to Protect Your Documentary from the Federal Government? Read On