As reported here earlier, the DFL has a pretty open policy when it comes to letting citizen journalists videotape its conventions. But the DFL does have rules and today we saw what happens when those rules aren’t followed. At today’s DFL CD2 Convention, a Republican video “tracker” was asked to stop videotaping from the visitors section of the Faribault High School auditorium.
DFL CD2 Secretary Jane Miles says the Republican tracker did not register at the sign in table (as is required of all people attending the convention). If he had registered, (in this case as media) he would have been allowed to video tape.
The Republican tracker has been following Al Franken and taping his appearances for some time. The Al Franken campaign knows the individual and actually had no problem with him taping.
The DFL’s Sergeant At Arms warned the Republican tracker the first time he pulled out a video camera and attempted to tape, and then asked him to leave when he started taping a second time. The Republican tracker was later allowed back into the convention and was told he could text message, blog, etc. but could not video tape. Miles said if the Republican tracker wanted to video tape he would need to sign in as press and go through the normal vetting process. He did not do that.
Recently The UpTake did a story about how Citizen Journalists with video cameras have systematically been prevented from video taping Republican events and conventions. In all the cases where those Citizen Journalists were volunteers for The UpTake, those volunteers had alerted the organizer of the event that we wished to video tape. We believe in following the rules, as long as the rules are there to keep things organized and not to prevent information and video from being disseminated. In other words, we believe in free speech.
CD2 DFL says the Republican tracker did not follow the rules and since he has been doing this for most of the election cycle, he knew that there was a procedure to follow.
The UpTake encourages citizen journalists of all stripes to follow the rules as long as they are reasonable. Conversely we also encourage the parties to make rules that are reasonable and err on the side of freedom of speech and dissemination of information.