A documentary filmmaker in Hawaii who has covered native burial practices might be the first person to assert the state’s new shield law, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Land developer Joseph Brescia, who has been frustrated in an effort to build on a site where 30 graves were found, is suing the people he claims delayed his plans. According to the AP, he subpoenaed filmmaker Keoni Kealoha Alvarez, seeking unpublished footage and interviews. Alvarez, who is not a party in the lawsuit, said he promised his sources confidentiality because of the sensitivity surrounding native beliefs.
Gov. Linda Lingle signed Hawaii’s shield bill in July 2008, creating an absolute privilege protecting both the identity of sources and the content of newsgathering materials in most situations.
The ACLU of Hawaii said in a statement: "Simply put, Brescia has no right to these materials. If he can’t see that by reading the new law, we will ask the court to explain it to him."