Access

Film producer Harvey Weinstein leaves court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Media Organizations Seek Access To Transcript of Closed Weinstein Hearing

Both the prosecution and the defense in Harvey Weinstein’s case want a critical hearing set for Friday to take place behind closed doors, citing Weinstein’s right to a fair trial. Now, 14 major news organizations are fighting for open access, asking a judge to keep the hearing open to the press and the public.

April 24, 2019 Access, Below the Fold, News Gathering
Part of a series on the Pentagon Papers published by The New York Times in 1971. The Nixon Administration's attempt to stop publication was ultimately rejected in New York Times v. United States.

Harvard Historian Seeking To Unseal Documents From Probe Into Pentagon Papers Leak

December 19, 2018: The Public Needs More Insight Into The Landmark Pentagon Papers Case, She Argues  A history professor and writer is asking a federal judge to unseal the records from proceedings in two Boston grand jury probes into the leaks of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Jill Lepore, who is seeking the records, is a Harvard professor, writer for The New[Read More…]

December 19, 2018 Access, Below the Fold, News Gathering, Press
A Boston Police cruiser is marked with crime scene tape outside the scene after a burning propane tank was left near an unoccupied police cruiser in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., January 20, 2017.  REUTERS/Josh Reynolds

Massachusetts Law Prohibiting Secret Audio Recordings of Government Officials and Police Ruled Unconstitutional

December 11, 2018: The Reversal Was In Response To Challenges Brought by the ACLU and Project Veritas A Massachusetts law that banned secret audio recording of government and police officials performing their duties in public was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in Boston. “On the core constitutional issue, the Court holds that secret audio recording of government officials, including[Read More…]

December 13, 2018 Access, Secrecy, Top Stories
White House Restores Acosta’s Press Pass, Announces New Rules in Press Room

White House Restores Acosta’s Press Pass, Announces New Rules in Press Room

Following a two-week long legal battle over CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s White House access that played out on the national stage, the White House has reinstated his press credentials that were suspended earlier this month. But will a new set of rules and more strain on the relationship between the president and the press have a chilling effect on press freedom?

November 12, 2018 Access, Press, Top Stories
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders takes questions while holding the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Reporters Persona Non Grata at White House

Donald Trump has often called out news organizations as “fake news,” excluded reporters from rallies, and limited press access both on the campaign trail and after assuming office. But many are condemning the White Houses’ move to revoke the press credentials of CNN’s Jim Acosta unprecedented and dangerous. Larger questions still remain: can reporters be barred from news conferences because the Trump administration objects to coverage? And will reporter’s boycott White House press briefings in solidarity with Acosta and in defense of press freedom?

November 7, 2018 Access, News Gathering
Death Penalty Reporter’s Case For Access Can Move Forward

Death Penalty Reporter’s Case For Access Can Move Forward

August 21, 2018: Ongoing Fight For Reporter Access To Witness Executions In Missouri Continues  Buzzfeed News investigative reporter Chris McDaniel can move forward with his lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Corrections to be allowed to witness executions, a federal appellate court held. McDaniel— who covers the death penalty and executions— filed a lawsuit together with the ACLU against the[Read More…]

August 23, 2018 Access, Press, Top Stories
In Alabama Town, Media and Non-Residents Banned From Meetings

In Alabama Town, Media and Non-Residents Banned From Meetings

June 12, 2018: In Contradiction to Alabama Open Meetings Act, Paint Rock Bans Media And Non-Residents From Council Meetings The Jackson County Sentinel reported that the 200-person town of Paint Rock, Alabama is trying to ban members of the media and non-residents from attending Town Council meetings without prior approval of the members. The rules also say that recording meetings[Read More…]

Can Elected Officials Block Critics On Their Social Media Pages?

Can Elected Officials Block Critics On Their Social Media Pages?

President Trump blocked some of his critics on his Twitter handle, @realDonaldTrump, prompting a lawsuit arguing that such action violated their First Amendment rights. The lawsuit raised questions about the use of social media sites by public officials. Clearly, a personal website of a public figure is not subject to First Amendment restrictions, and so the site operator can block users. But a site run by the government, or run by a public official for his public business, would likely be categorized as a limited public forum protected by the First Amendment. Officials would violate the First Amendment if they discriminated against posters because of their viewpoint. But is @realDonaldTrump a personal site or an official government site? That’s a key question. He started the account in 2009, when he was a private citizen, but now uses it to share policy statements and his views on public issues. On May 23, 2018, U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled that Trump may not legally block users on Twitter because doing so violates a right to free speech; @realDonaldTrump unblocked the plaintiffs but not others who are blocked and the Justice Department is appealing the ruling. Meanwhile, other cases are percolating through the courts as well, with one to be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit involving a citizen who was blocked by a public official in Virginia from her Facebook account.

June 5, 2018 Access, Below the Fold, News Gathering
Ballard Spahr: First Amendment Bars Trump from Blocking Critics on Twitter, Court Rules

Ballard Spahr: First Amendment Bars Trump from Blocking Critics on Twitter, Court Rules

Reprinted with Permission from Ballard Spahr A federal judge has ruled that the First Amendment prohibits President Donald J. Trump from blocking Twitter users because of political disagreements. Last summer, seven individual plaintiffs—Twitter users who had been blocked from the President’s account, @realDonaldTrump, after tweeting criticism about the President or his policies—together with the Knight First Amendment Institute, sued Trump[Read More…]

May 24, 2018 Access, Below the Fold
EPA Bars Reporters from Several Outlets From Attending National Summit

EPA Bars Reporters from Several Outlets From Attending National Summit

May 23, 2018: Environmental Protection Agency bars select reporters from entering an event where Scott Pruitt, the agency’s chief, was speaking Reporters from CNN, The Associated Press, and E&E News were barred by the EPA from entering a national summit “of national priority,” while other reporters were allowed inside for Scott Pruitt’s opening remarks after having been invited by the agency the[Read More…]

May 23, 2018 Access, Press, Top Stories