Walmart and freedom of the press

Joseph Pappalardo
Thu Jan 6 16:36:06 EST 2005

From: "Donna Halper"

> >Joe said--
> >Unless you are one that believes that journalists have special rights, as
> >was discussed in the WJAR-TV journalist story (who refused to divulge a
> >source).
> Umm, not the conversation I was having.

Only in that this journalists claimed his right to "cover a story" trumped
his normal obligations to the regular conventions that we all must abide by.

I believe that 'Freedom of the Press' means just are free to
print your thoughts and hand it out to people.  However, I am under no
obligation to help you "cover a story" or distribute/circulate.

Just as "freedom of Speech" means you can stand in the city square,  stand
on a saopbox and spout your beliefs....none of are under the obligation to
accomodate you.

>  In other
> words, my question was about whether a reporter, be it for radio or print
> or TV, has the right to cover a breaking story...

I don't think they have a "right" to "cover a story".

>  ...or if they have to get a
> corporation's permission in order to do their job.

They do if that infringes on the rights of others.  (i.e...a private
individual or a private organization.)

Now, Governments, Courts, elected officials...thats a different story.  We
all have a right to know, because the information belongs to the public.
Thats why we have the Freedom of Information act.

Just another opinion....

(PS: Also keep in mind that one of the practices taking place at department
and clothing stores is dubiously taking pictures of people in the rest rooms
and changing rooms....and many places now have the "no camera" rule in
effect all the time.  Although in this case, it appears someone was just
worried about WalMart embarassment.)

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