A little rebellion now and then is a good thing and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. ~ Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Jame Madison
And never have I felt more rebellious, more incited to revolution than tonight, when I sat down to read who, and what, really controls what you, and I, and our friends and neighbours read and watch in the evening news….
And you think you live in a democracy?
I suggest you read the following. And think again.
Because when journalists employed by publications that benefit from very lucrative government advertising revenue are among those who are designated to pick and choose who may obtain media accreditation on behalf of the Supreme Court…. something has gone terribly wrong.
From The Legislature Raids :
BC Supreme Court Media Accreditation Committee … say again?.
What is a working journalist? Wouldn’t it be someone with a set of high skills who attends all the hearings, studies the process, and reveals the story in its fullest form? I think so. And I think Robin Mathews is that highly skilled working journalist who is telling us the BC Rail story in its fullest meaning.
Recently Robin wrote to Court Scheduling to ask for accreditation. Why? So he could do his job better. He said that if the court is jammed (as it was for the first jury-picking) he needed to get a place where he could hear what’s going on … which isn’t always easy in the back row with 150 people in the public gallery. A reply came to him from H.L.McBride, Supreme Court Law Officer, with material describing the Accreditation Process and it referred him to the committee of journalists which does the initial accrediting. Of the four named as representative of the committee, Robin chose Keith Fraser to write to.
Robin Mathews has been in the BC Rail courtroom with other paid journalists for over three (3) years. Sometimes Robin Mathews is the only working journalist in the public gallery reporting on the BC Rail Trial. I would imagine that he has logged more hours in the public gallery than any other journalist at the BC Rail hearings. So in my view, the public should know the dark side of what goes on.
Heaven knows we berate the journalists often enough for not doing their jobs better. I, for one, never quite imagined them doing these kinds of things as part of their duty to the public.
First, here’s Robin’s inquiry:
Dear Keith: First: I wrote to Mary Ellen Pearce to ask if I could get accredited as a court reporter. My reply came from H.L.McBride who I can never decide if it’s a woman or a man. Anyhow, the reply was I have to go to someone really powerful to ask – and you were listed among the really powerful!!!!
Yes, I would like the right to record. But also I’d like the right if the court is jammed (as it was for the first jury-picking) to get a place where I can hear what’s going on … which isn’t always easy in the back row with 150 people there. I notice that you and CP could slip in to a corner where you were in good relation to the goings-on …
I’d like to know about “accreditation” if you can spare a few minutes over the next days (before the 17th.)
good wishes, Robin
Next: Neal Hall of Vancouver Sun offers the formal reply, as follows:
From: “Hall, Neal (Vancouver Sun)”
Date: May 11, 2010
To: , “Fraser, Keith (The Province)” , email@example.com, JSeyd@nsnews.com,
Subject: Court accreditation application
The B.C. Supreme Court media accreditation committee considered your application but has decided you are not a working journalist, so do not qualify for accreditation.
We are aware of the valuable role you play as a “blogger” and analyst of the court proceedings, so would encourage you to apply by letter to the trial judge, requesting permission to use a recording device in court.
As for seating, so far, there doesn’t appear to be any special arrangements for media seating in the courtroom. So we’re all in the same boat – we’ll be trying to find the best available seat each day.
Any questions, please feel free to contact me (I can always be reached by e-mail).
The Vancouver Sun
Now. If you don’t get what is wrong here, I feel for you. I really do. But for the rest of you, click on the The Legislature Raids and read the rest of the story…