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Professional photojournalists may again be facing unconstitutional requirements for permits to work in public parks — this time at the county level in a well-heeled District of Columbia suburb.
Virginia's Fairfax County Park Authority has had a policy requiring permits and fees for "professional photography" in its various park units. As they conduct an annual review of their fee policies, they are encountering pushback. The pushback comes not only from wedding photographers who think the fees are too high, but from journalists who think they violate the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press.
The fee is $100 for the first two hours, and it may take up to five days to process the permit application.
The Society of Environmental Journalists has objected to photography permit policies on federal lands under the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service. SEJ and other journalism groups are likely to file similar comments in the Fairfax County deliberations.
- "Professional Photographers Challenge $100 Fee To Shoot in Fairfax County Parks," Washington Post, January 19, 2015, by Tom Jackman.
- "Park Authority Solicits Comments on Proposed Fee Packet," Fairfax County Park Authority, January 7, 2015; see also release of January 7, 2015.
- "Petition for Park Authority Board Action Regarding Photography Fees in Fairfax County," Pamela Lepold Photography, January 18, 2015.
- "Professional Photography in the Parks," Fairfax County Park Authority.
- "Update on Fairfax County Permits," blog post, January 22, 2015, by Kat Forder.