The House of Representatives committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, and the related multipronged attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election, has asked independent documentarians and others to make their footage from the events available.
But such requests play into the natural tension between government and the independent media. While videographers in two high-profile cases have agreed to cooperate with the House committee, one has not, according to a report in the Washington Post.
Two filmmakers, both British, have already handed over footage after reportedly being subpoenaed. They are Nick Quested, who was following members of the Proud Boys, and Alex Holder, a filmmaker who was working with the Trump family. A third filmmaker, the Danish documentarian Christoffer Guldbrandsen, has declined, the Post said last week.
Investigators have sought a 170-hour cache of footage shot for Guldbrandsen’s forthcoming documentary on Roger Stone, a close ally of then-president Donald Trump. Footage reportedly showed that Stone communicated on an encrypted application with leaders of far-right groups, and that he claimed at the time to be in contact with Trump.
Guldbransen said in an interview that the investigations are “legitimate and important, not only for Americans but for anyone in a democracy, but our independence from government and law enforcement is impossible to compromise.”The Post and many other news organizations have similar policies not to provide notes, recordings or other journalistic materials to law enforcement. Such policies are generally intended to preserve the independence of the press and to protect reporters and their sources from potential intrusion by government officials.