is this broadcast censorship?

Mission Control
Mon Oct 25 16:16:05 EDT 2004

Maybe I'm getting this wrong, but there seems to be several issues here. And plenty of "grey area."

Someone earlier said (I apologize to not having the proper credit):
>>A bar is also a public gathering place and to exclude the press strikes me as being just another liberty being stripped away.  Sounds like the USSR in the 60's.<< 

Well, the press is NOT being excluded from bars in the Fenway area. I saw many a reporter going into the Cask and the BBT, some with cameras - both ENG and SLR types - the past three days (after the so-called ban). And yes, for the record, *I* did really see them, in person. Neither the establishment nor the police barred them (pardon the pun) from entering.

It's "live-shots" that are not to be shown; and as I recall, several Boston television stations already have policies in place forbidding the "in-bar, live-shot" practice during sporting events. 

There's a webpage that provides some ethical live coverage questions and guidelines (courtesy of the Radio-Television News Directors Association and Foundation):

Sid wrote:  
"The mayor's order serves no function other than to abridge the freedom of the press, and there are few clearer examples of exactly the sort of excessive use of government power intended to be remedied by the First Amendment."

I'll let the lawyers on the list handle that one (though to my mind there's something to the "live-shot" ban that is akin to not yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater.)

Sid continued:
"Turning the Emerson student's death into an excuse to keep reporters away from certain places is another layer of grease on the slippery slope."  

Again, reporters are not being kept from those places. But that "slippery slope" is certainly beneath us, and our footing bears continuous watching!

Sid again:
"One of his cops accidentally shot and killed an innocent bystander, the press reported it, and now the PRESS must pay the price?  What is he afraid of, anyhow?  And what benefit accrues to him by making the press the scapegoat and ultimately the enemy?"

Interesting points. And to a certain degree, I have asked the same questions. However one might extrapolate that it was not the actual news reporting of the death that the mayor is punishing the "press" for, but perhaps it's part in fostering a less-than-peaceful assembly PRIOR to the tragedy.

I don't mean to seem insensitive to the horror that unfolded, nor am I excusing it; though if my comments seem to be thoughtless, for that I will humbly apologize.


Michael G. Wilkins

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