A coalition of 15 broadcasters, print, and online publishers are working on a testing program through the FAA’s test site at Virginia Tech for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – or “drones” – for news gathering. The research testing launched June 16, 2015, and lets groups of journalists learn to safely fly UAVs in mock news scenarios. The research is designed to help the government set standards that appropriately balance the public’s interest in safety and the First Amendment.
Why is it important?
UAVs are the newest technological innovation for broadcasters to report news, sports and other important information from new perspectives. But the federal government is not yet ready to let journalists handle the controls, and the current regulatory process is expensive and slow. This coalition, which is working with a team of media and aviation lawyers at Holland & Knight LLP, already has helped move regulation in a more First Amendment friendly direction for broadcasters.