Diverse Coalition Backs Project Veritas In Fight Against Oregon’s Ban On Secret Recordings

A wide range of organizations including animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and free speech advocates have filed friend-of-the-court briefs supporting Project Veritas in its ongoing legal battle against Oregon’s ban on recording people in public without their consent. The case which was initially won by Project Veritas in July 2023 when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the law unconstitutional is now set for a rehearing after the court vacated its order in March 2024.

Joining PETA in submitting an amicus brief are Animal Outlook and the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE). Their brief argues that “Oregon’s sweeping prohibition on non-consensual audio and videorecordings of conversations conflicts with these basic First Amendment principles by presumptively outlawing an important medium of newsgathering and speech creation.”

Nonprofit litigation firm Liberty Justice Center and Oregonian lawyer Bert Krages have also filed amicus briefs in support of Project Veritas’ position. The diverse coalition backing the challenge to Oregon’s law highlights the far-reaching implications of the case for freedom of speech and the press.

In the original suit filed in 2020 Project Veritas lawyer Ben Barr contended that Oregon’s broad ban on surreptitious audio recordings effectively criminalizes the act of journalism. “Oregon law currently makes it a criminal act to record a protest or an interview or nearly any other interaction without clear and conspicuous notice to anyone whose voice might be recorded” Barr stated.

FIRE attorney Gabe Walters who filed an amicus brief said “recordings can be essential for newsgathering on issues that matter most to the public” adding that “wrongdoers have a funny habit of straightening up when they know they’re being recorded.”