The National Coalition Against Censorship has joined with Demand Progress, ACLU, PEN America, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and a dozen other free speech and government transparency organizations in calling for the United States Senate to allow full press access to the current impeachment proceedings.
Following press reports that journalists will be restricted to using pen and paper and all digital recording, including streaming on C-SPAN, will be prohibited, the Standing Committee of Correspondents and press freedom organizations vigorously objected.
As the joint letter co-signed by NCAC states, “While congressional proceedings should be open to the public as a matter of general principle, the public interest value of transparency in an impeachment trial supersedes all others. As is true in legislatures and courts across the country, public access can be preserved without unduly restricting the movement of the press by adding cameras and allowing reporters to use laptops and smartphones. Indeed, when in doubt, a presumption of openness should prevail.
Instead of imposing restrictions on the nation’s greatest deliberative body that seek to go back to the 20th Century, the Senate should be using modern technologies to enable every American to arm themselves with knowledge about how our representatives are upholding their oaths to be fair and impartial jurors in one of the most momentous proceedings in our nation’s history. The public and the press should be empowered to bear and use computing devices to bear witness to history from the galleries. C-SPAN should be allowed into the Senate Chamber to position its cameras so that they can broadcast the historic proceedings throughout the country and make the archives available to the public.”
The full letter can be read below.Click here for a full screen view.