Is It A Free Speech Violation To Deny Press Credentials To Bloggers?

from the seems-unlikely dept

Well, here's a case that may interest various bloggers who like to get press credentials to various events. Three "alternative" journalists in New York City are suing the NY Police Department for denying them press credentials, because they work for online or nontraditional publications. To be honest, it's difficult to see this lawsuit going very far. If a court finds that the NYPD is somehow required to give any alternative journalist press credentials, then it basically means that anyone can get press credentials (as, these days, anyone can become part of the press with a fews clicks) -- and makes the whole concept of press credentials meaningless. Of course, there are some who might say that's not a bad idea. But, on the whole, it seems like the NYPD (and anyone else) should be free to give out press credentials to whoever they want. It's not denying anyone's ability to report on things -- it's just determining what kind of access they have. The freedom of the press is about the freedom to report and publish -- not the freedom to go wherever they want and access whoever they want.
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Filed Under: free speech, nypd, press credentials

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  1. identicon
    Pat, 14 Nov 2008 @ 10:40am


    Suppose the police refused to give press credentials to anyone?

    Or suppose the police give credentials only to people who never say anything negative about the police? Only happy people, please!

    No. Access is critical. Access is why lobbyists are paid so much money.

    There should be an explicit, simple, objective policy about who qualifies. And it really isn't that hard:

    • "Is the publication in question regularly published, daily, weekly, monthly?" -- easily checked by looking at the site history
    • "Does the publication have a readership greater than the publisher's immediate family? > 100?" --easily checked via technorati ranking, etc.

    If yes for both then ... this is a reporter deserving press credentials.

    Look at this reaction to a blogger from Open Left, Matt Stoller. Open Left is not a small-time blog either.

    But they weren't "print" and BFF with the right people.

    Now admittedly, the Rossi campaign is allowed to speak to anyone they want -- but what is also equally interesting is the UNwillingness of anyone else in the room to say anything to stop Matt from being booted.

    It's time we had people monitoring the press -- considering how many times they get it wrong.

    Side note: I have talked about High-Speed Rail (trains going > 150 mph) to the press. I have given white papers to the "press" about High-Speed Rail. Only to see HSR reported as "light rail" ( trolleys that top out at 55mph)

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