Press Access

Florida Governor Draws Criticism After Limiting Media Access to Bill Signing Ceremony

Florida Governor
Governor-elect Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2018 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed new voting legislation on May 6th. The bill signing was broadcasted live on Fox & Friends, a morning news program on Fox News Channel, but all other media outlets were denied access. The decision drew criticism from media organizations and First Amendment scholars.

Governor DeSantis claimed that he provided Fox & Friends with an “exclusive” and emphasized that the signing ceremony was accessible to “millions of people.”

However, others expressed concern that the exclusion of all other media outlets constituted a violation of the First Amendment. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Pamela Marsh, the president of the Tallahassee-based First Amendment Foundation, asserted that “[t]he law leaves no question as to the impropriety of banning certain media while allowing only friendly media,” adding “[t]hat is viewpoint and content discrimination.” The First Amendment Foundation is an organization dedicated to government transparency.

The ACLU of Florida also weighed in on the matter, tweeting that “[t]he voter suppression bill Gov. DeSantis signed into law Thursday, televised live on Fox News while his administration denied access to local Florida journalists to report on it in person, is an assault on democracy.”


Tampa Bay TimesMiami Herald