Bill By Ellen Cogen Lipton Would Deny Access To Government Docs To Online News Services and Bloggers
Michigan State Representative Ellen Cogen Lipton introduced a bill in the Michigan Legislature that narrowly defines the term “journalist” in FOIA requests. Her bill would limit public documents to anyone who works for a “newspaper or FCC-licensed radio or TV station”
This would bar bloggers or writers for hyper-local sites like Ferndale115.com and MFI-Miami from obtaining public documents. It would also bar online wire services like the Associated Press and Reuters from obtaining records. Local media sites like MLive and the Huffington Post would also be barred.
HB 4770 is another example of how clueless Democrats and Republicans are in the Michigan Legislature. The amended version of this bill also shows how out of touch these people are.
The amended version of HB 4770 adds “online newspaper.”
As Jeff Wattrick at Deadline Detroit points out on Facebook:
There is no such thing as an online newspaper any more than there is a video newspaper. Newspaper implies paper.
As Jane Briggs-Bunting of the Michigan Coalition for Open Government points out in the Motor City Muckraker:
That is a far too narrow definition of news media in the 21st century. Journalism comes in a variety of different delivery forms. Some individual bloggers have more followers than the circulation of many newspapers in this state or audiences of radio and television news stations.
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