CalCoastNews on the distribution ‘no fly list’
May 14, 2009
County officials did not provide CalCoastNews the press release regarding the possible termination of David Edge and the appointment of Jeff Hamm. This is not uncommon.
Because of this the following e-mail was sent to County Counsel Warren Jensen:
Thank you for your quick response regarding my questions.
In addition, I am requesting CalCoastNews be put on the press release list for all county offices and departments and also that CalCoastNews is provided invitations to all county press conferences. I have requested press releases in writing and verbally from a number of departments including the DA’s office and the sheriff’s office. I have received one press release this year sent by an employee who asked that I not divulge her name.
I asked a deputy DA why I wasn’t getting releases. He first said they were trying to adapt to sending press releases via e-mail. I worked at New Times a few years ago and received press releases usually every week from the DA’s office and the sheriff’s office via e-mail.
I asked again about three months ago, and was told the DA’s office had not released any press releases in some time. It has been over a year since I first put in my request. I know of other media agencies that have received press releases during this time from these departments.
‘Unconstitutional discriminatory treatment of the media can arise in many situations. For example, courts have found violations of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection clause where a mayor excluded a particular reporter from press conferences to which the public generally was invited, where a sheriff prevented department officials from releasing any information to reporters for a particular newspaper except in response to a written request, and where city officials denied reporters for a particular newspaper access to police files generally available to other reporters. In California, a court held that the City of Los Angeles could not constitutionally give one television station the exclusive right to film an official ceremony and celebration commemorating the Mexican War from the stage at City Hall Plaza.
’574 Anderson v. Cryovac, Inc., 805 F.3d 1, 9 (1st Cir. 1986). 575 Borreca v. Fasi, 369 F. Supp. 906, 910-11 (D. Haw. 1974). 576 Times Picayune Publishing Corp. v. Lee, 15 Med. L. Rep. 1713, 1716-19 (E.D. La. 1988). 577 Quad-City Community News Service, Inc. v. Hebens, 334 F. Supp, 8, 15 (S.D. Iowa 1971),’ according to an e-mail from First Amendment Coalition attorney Peter Scheer.
Under the principals of these cases, county officials and employees may not exclude CalCoastNews from information provided to other members of the media, or send press releases to CalCoastNews at a different time than other media, or deny CalCoastNews access to information provided to other media via press releases, or deny CalCoastNews access to press conferences by a failure notify.
I look forward to this situation being resolved.
Jensen responded with an e-mail saying he would look into the matter.