Indian filmmaker wins case against New York administration


New York : Filmmakers using hand-held equipment while shooting in New York will no longer be required to obtain permits under a deal reached with Indian filmmaker Rakesh Sharma, who was detained by police two years ago.

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The settlement reached Wednesday follows a New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) suit filed in January 2006 in the US District Court in New York on behalf of Sharma, who was detained in May 2005 for filming a city sidewalk scene with a hand-held video camera.

The suit charged that Sharma was told he lacked necessary permit and then was denied one when he applied, online edition of Hollywoodreporter reported.

The NYCLU said Sharma, who made the controversial "Final Solution" on the Gujarat riots, was paid unspecified damages as part of the settlement.

New York city administration will, for the first time, create written rules for issuing permits to filmmakers and photographers – those with hand-held equipment will not require a city permit or have $1 million in insurance.

"As a filmmaker and activist, I was deeply troubled by having to obtain government permission to make a political documentary," Sharma said. "This settlement will free me and other filmmakers from unnecessary government control."

"Over the last several years, we have received numerous complaints about the mistreatment of filmmakers and photographers," NYCLU associate legal director Christopher Dunn said. "The adoption of these new rules is an important reform, but we will continue to protect the rights of photographers."