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Friday, August 15, 2008

The Mayor Wants A Teensy Bit of Control...

File this under the broad heading of "trickle-down fascism, in which mayors and county commissioners and such try to build their own West Wing message control juntas. Last I checked, public employees have First Amendment rights, too.

The mayor wants to be notified before city employees talk to the news media.

Mayor Sharon McShurley, in a memorandum distributed yesterday to city and sanitary district employees, said all "public announcements" must be reviewed by her or someone she has designated "to ensure accuracy (and) that it is well written and appropriate for the intended audience."

A union official accused the mayor of trying to restrict free speech, which McShurley denied.

"I can tell you that the intent is not to keep employees from talking to the media," she told the Muncie newspaper, The Star Press. "I think they have a responsibility to let us know if the media is asking for something."

The policy requires employees to notify their immediate supervisors before press interviews and to have supervisors present during interviews "to the maximum extent practicable." Supervisors' role would be to "attest to the accuracy of the interview" and follow up with the news media.

More here.


revswirl said...

The Mayor isn't taking away anyone's first amendment rights. She's just trying to make sure that information reported to the media is accurate. If you read the memorandum (http://www.thestarpress.com/assets/pdf/C7115545814.PDF) you'll see the intent of the new policy. I'm all about freedom of speech, but I think you shoulda let this one slide :)

National Freedom of Information Coalition said...

I'd respectfully disagree. These policies send a very clear message: shaddap....