In response to the Minnesota House media access debate, The UpTake has released the following statement:
“Freedom of the press” is a citizen’s freedom more than simply the freedom for professional organizations and their employees. Citizens attempting to record at the State Capitol should be protected as “press” as is any media organization, and should not be prevented from recording proceedings as long as they conform with the regular rules of decorum.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was written to protect the activities of pamphleteers, not professional journalists, nor media organizations as they were not yet developed in a significant way at that time. The modern equivalent of pamphleteers are citizens who maintain and distribute their own journals – i.e. bloggers (citizen journalists etc.) Modern equivalents of the printing press include the video camera and the internet.
If the Minnesota Capitol building is “our House” as they say at the beginning of every tour, then the public should be able to access and record (using whatever tools they need) from the proper areas citizens are allowed – any public area. Anything less denies citizens their constitutional right and creates a government that is less instead of more transparent.