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FAA’s drone policy is having ‘impermissible chilling effect’ – News Media

Top American journalism organizations have filed court documents saying the Federal Aviation Authority is chilling free speech and restricting a free press.

Sixteen companies, including the New York Times Company, the Washington Post Company, the Tribune group, Hearst, Gannet and The National Press Club filed a ‘friend of the court’ brief saying that the “federal government has deprived its citizens and a free and independent news media of the opportunity to participate in the rulemaking process”, and should “move forward with the development of polices that protect, rather than hinder, freedom of speech and of the press.”

The statement was submitted as part of the court battle between the FAA, who has regulatory responsibility for the USA’s airspace and Raphael Pirker, a drone pilot who was paid to fly his small remote controlled aircraft taking video and photos of the University of Virginia campus.

The full brief runs to thirty-four pages, quoting examples of what the authors say are inconsistent enforcement actions by the FAA, beneficial drone uses by news media, and a unjustifiably slow rule-making process.