Magazine article The Quill

Judge Grants Rights to Non-Pro Newsgatherers

Magazine article The Quill

Judge Grants Rights to Non-Pro Newsgatherers

Article excerpt

A federal court in Boston ruled in February that nonprofessional news gatherers have the same rights as professionals. The court's decision supported Patricia Demarest, who said a public access cable company, in effect, muzzled her.

It is the first ruling of its kind, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Demarest in her fight with Athol/Orange Community Television.

"It will open so many more doors for common citizens to use public access as a public forum and a place to speak their minds," said Demarest, co-producer of the program "Think Tank 2000."

Demarest used the program to accuse local officials in the central Massachusetts town of Athol of conflicts of interest, The Associated Press reported.

However, after she broadcast the grilling that she gave one official, the cable company, whose board is appointed by the city, suspended her. …

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