Reading the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Sunday I found a article in the B section that disturbed me. Another attack on the First Amendment and government transparency. In the article JPs’ ban on video sparks debate by Kenneth Heard, he reports that last week in a 6-3 vote to ban videocameras in Quorum Court meetings. A copy of the story is here
They discussed if they could legally ban the cameras. Their lawyer said it wasn’t mentioned in the Freedom of Information Act. Maybe not but its mentioned here…
… or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
In today’s tech world, anyone can be the “Press” now, independent bloggers who don’t answer to editors or whoever pays the bills. Those camera’s are just another way to take notes to help remember grievances also. A picture says a 1000 words, video says a million.
The County Judge asked them to turn off the cameras and the citizens refused. The Sheriff turned the cameras away from the camera shy Quorum Court but left them running.
Apparently it gives a few in the Court “chills”. They are scared to speak their mind according to a quote. So you’ll say one thing but then another if a camera is watching? You have no integrity. What I say at home I’ll say in public, though I will clean up my language, the message will stay the same. I don’t say anything I don’t mean. Its one of my good points.