"Some of the measures would directly prohibit journalists from photographing or recording farm animals and other items and activities involved in food production in a manner not likely to pass constitutional scrutiny," Rasmussen writes. "Others, however, seek to cut off the dissemination of this information at its source, by criminalizing the actions of whistleblowers. Although the laws and proposed laws differ in the types of activities they criminalize, all are at the center of a legal controversy that pits agricultural interests against those of journalists, activists and employees."
Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy Dalglish said, “It’s one thing to prohibit trespassing on private property, but regulating legal activity on public land is a very scary trend and most likely wouldn’t pass constitutional muster. These laws also put a severe chill on those who would expose any wrongdoing on farms that could harm the nation’s food supply and health.” (Dalglish is leaving the RCFP to become dean of journalism at the University of Maryland.)
Rasmussen's 2,300-word story is a comprehensive look at the issue, and is accompanied by a description of each "ag-gag" law in Iowa, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota and Utah and the unsuccessful legislation in Minnesota, Missouri and New York.