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Journalist and documentary filmmaker Deia Schlosberg, pictured here at the 35th College Television Awards, was arrested for filming those taking direct action against the fossil fuel industry. (Photo: Danny Moloshok / Invision)

It's Outrageous That I'm Facing 45 Years in Prison for Filming a Climate Protest

Filmmaker arrested for documenting last week's #ShutItDown protests speaks out

Deia Schlosberg

My name is Deia Schlosberg and I am an independent filmmaker and climate reporter. I was arrested while filming an act of nonviolent civil disobedience in North Dakota and I'm currently facing felony charges that I believe are unjust. I am a climate reporter; my specialty is following the story of how humankind is creating a grave problem for civilization by continuing to flood the atmosphere with greenhouse gases through the burning of fossil fuels and other industrial processes. I don't think there is nearly enough reporting on climate change nor the movement of people around the world working to lessen the impacts of climate change.

"Journalism needs to be passionately and ethically pursued and defended if we are to remain a free democratic country."

When I was arrested, I was doing my job. I was reporting. I was documenting. Journalism needs to be passionately and ethically pursued and defended if we are to remain a free democratic country. Freedom of the press, guaranteed by the First Amendment, is absolutely critical to maintaining an informed citizenry, without which, democracy is impossible.

It is the responsibility of journalists and reporters to document newsworthy events, and it is particularly important for independent media to tell the stories that mainstream media is not covering. The mainstream did not break the story on fracking nor did it break the story about what is happening at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, nor the stories told in my most recent film with Josh Fox, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change. With this and other recent films, I have sought to portray and humanize the climate movement that is fighting for all of us with integrity, resilience and deep compassion.

Accordingly, I felt I had a duty to document the unprecedented #ShutItDown climate action, which stopped all Canadian oil sands from entering the United States. Canadian oil sands importation is a controversial issue that is not getting the coverage it warrants, especially considering that the extraction and use of oil sands has a profound impact on every person on this planet.

I'd also like to call attention to two reporters covering the same action in Washington State, Lindsey Grayzel and Carl Davis, who are facing preliminary felony charges as well. For reporters who are simply doing their job, which is their constitutionally protected right, to be facing such charges is an outrage.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Deia Schlosberg

Deia Schlosberg is a climate journalist, filmmaker and the producer of Josh Fox’s new climate change documentary “How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change,” which is the third film in the Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning GASLAND series. An award-winning filmmaker in her own right, her films on climate change and fracking can be accessed on her website palebluedotmedia.com.

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