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Tell City of Eugene what you think about requiring media to wear ID

Indymedia recommendation on press IDs requested by City of Eugene Police Commission.
The City of Eugene Police Commission's Committee on Media Access Issues is soliciting opinion from various quarters on requiring "press pass" ID badges for members of the media when engaged in reporting at a scene of any incident in which police are involved. Currently, the Eugene Police Department acts under General Order 240.1 (March 2000) which states that "all members of the media, whether they posess news media credentials or simply assert that they are members of the media, will be treated equally" (emphasis added) at such scenes. That is, currently no press pass is required.

The committee has invited Indymedia to submit its recommendations by December 14. What do you think about this subject? Add your ideas here, below, by using the "add a comment" feature, and it will be delivered to the committee by the due date!

The two questions to answer:
Is there a need for the City of Eugene or its police department to require ID badges from media?
Who would do it and how would it be done?

You may also send written comments to:

Eugene Police Commission
777 Pearl Street, Room 105
Eugene, OR 97401
FAX (541) 682-8395
Less government intervention 16.Nov.2001 18:27

Shane Evans schna@justice.com

Government organizations already spend far too many resources stockpiling private personal information. Ultimately, these databases are used coercively, whether in tracking our movements and our habits or literally tracking us down. If we ever hope to create an environment that fosters the kind of freedoms that many believe are embodied in the bill of rights (even if they are not established thereby in fact), then we must start now, here with our local governmental organizations, to reduce what has become a steadily increasing tide of bureaucratic oversight--before the tide swamps us in an ocean of control.

The development of internet technologies enabling individuals to broadcast widely their reports, views, and opinions is not the relevant factor here. In terms of constitutional guarantees, any citizen is and has always been theoretically capable of reporting about an incident, especially one occuring in a public space, and airing such a piece publicly--via internet, radio, newspaper, or out among the public assembled on the nearest street-corner. If this is what is meant by freedom of speech, then obviously the most important factor is the opportunity to enter the public space and witness ongoing events. If not, then the vaunted freedoms of the Bill of Rights are hollow phrases; for what can free access to voice and to hear ideas mean if we have no chance to witness for ourselves the events that must shape our understanding? In the case of public demonstrations, in which people who feel so strongly that an idea needs urgently to be heard that they will shout it out in the streets, all the more reason to ensure that access is unencumbered.

It matters not the least what mode of communication one might use, whether it be national television news or email newsletter or wooden soapbox. It should not be the concern of governmental organizations how ideas are circulated; if freedom of such circulation is guaranteed, then one ought need no proof of affiliation with this or that "medium" in order to validate one's crucial access. Access is the key element around which the entire concept of freedom of expression revolves.

It may be objected that law enforcement agents have need of a standardized system--in order to facilitate information processing, of course--with which to sort "members of the media" from the public (again, a meaningless distinction in a system which espouses real freedom of expression) in case of dangers to public safety. To this objection there are two replies. First, though the constitution, the putative foundation of the republic, strikes a balance between the rights to life and liberty, the _only_ bulwark of such liberty is free communication--_tyranny_requires_secrecy_--necessitating that protections of our right to life not interfere therein. Second, if the republic is not so constituted, then what kind of life will our protections and their cost--freedom of conscience--earn us? A "safe" one, perhaps, but the ultimate answer is a life of submission: submission to the huge and increasingly invisible machineries of control that we have let our governmental and corporate organizations build by allowing ourselves to be so seamlessly inserted into the databases. Such accumulations of information exist to track, to model, to predict, _to_control_ us.

We should start dismantling machines of control today. The last thing we need is another registration database like the one proposed in Eugene to separate the media "haves" from the "have-nots". If the republic is not so constituted as to allow freedom of expression, even to the detriment of mundane corporeal welfare, even despite whatever inconvenience to law enforcement agents, then it damn well should be.

is it because of Moss? 16.Nov.2001 22:27


I just heard that Moss' grand jury was postponed till December or January because there was too much press. Now I read about this news from Eugene. Hmmm?