Friday, October 04, 2013

Where does the press get to stand?

There are good and ethical restrictions on where members of the press  (or anyone else) can stand and participate in the deliberations of their government; the wielding of their power and the spending of their trust and treasure.

Genuine safety concerns are exemplar;
you can't set up a tripod in anyplace that complicates an emergency evacuation.

There are at least two schools of thought;

1.  The government has the right to tell the press (and anyone else) where they can/must stand.
2.  The government has the right and obligation to tell the press (and anyone else) where they cannot stand; but only for reasons that stand some scrutiny.
If the government's rules are created to protect politicians and public servants from oversight by those whose power they wield and whose resources they spend, then the rules are "bad" rules.

It begs a question; a question I've been asking for a long time;
who writes the rules for public in-servitude, the people or the public servants?
And a more important question;
who should be writing the rules?
Is it reasonable for the government, APS School Board Member Kathy Korte for example, to tell the press where they have to stand; up to and including; offsite?

In her sworn testimony and email exchanges, she reveals her conviction that;
a male photographer taking her picture from a distance and even "while she was doing her job" as an elected and as a public servant, is a stalker.

There is nowhere, where they can stand to photograph her or ask her questions about the public interests or about her public service, and where that will not be "stalking".

She admitted that there are certain members of the press, in particular from KOAT TV that she will not talk to at all, even to answer their legitimate questions about public interests and her public service.

Her denial of equal access, to certain KOAT press, is a violation of their civil rights.  Her denial of access to any particular member of the press, especially males, is a violation of their civil rights to equal access to government and a place to stand.

That's wrong, right?

photo Mark Bralley

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