Magazine article The Quill

FOI Alert: Texas Prisons Propose Journalist Licenses

Magazine article The Quill

FOI Alert: Texas Prisons Propose Journalist Licenses

Article excerpt

An FOI Alert was issued by FOI Cochairman Ian Marquand after rules were proposed that would require people wanting to interview Texas Death Row inmates to have a license to show they were in the "legitimate" media and wouldn't publish or broadcast anything to undermine the deterrent value of the death penalty.

The rules were proposed in June by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The FOI Alert was posted on the SPJ

Web site, spj.org, June 24 and urged journalists to oppose the rules on First Amendment grounds before the comment period closed July 2.

If adopted, the rules would define "news media" and let a bureaucrat decide who is, or is not, legitimate. The rules define 11 news media" as "news publications, accredited news services such as The Associated Press, licensed radio and television broadcast stations or networks, and government-franchised community cable television systems that originate scheduled news programming. …

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