Free Speech Press Release

06.01.16

Flight Restrictions and Media Credentialing Process Risk Obstructing Coverage of 2016 RNC

Free Speech

CLEVELAND—The ACLU of Ohio sent a letter today notifying media outlets that potential flight restrictions and new credentialing procedures may impact media access to the 2016 Republican National Convention. The letter outlines concerns around expanded “no-fly zones” and authority by the Secret Service to control media credentials.

“Increased control by the government over media access at the RNC presents serious First Amendment concerns,” said Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio. “The new credentialing process may reduce the ability of reporters to get access to events as they unfold. Restrictions put in place by the FAA could completely block the ability of news agencies to obtain aerial footage of the convention, protests, and the actions of law enforcement.”

Read the letter to media outlets covering the RNC.

In the letter, the ACLU notes that Secret Service control of media credentialing will make the process more stringent and less transparent. The Secret Service has provided no explicit criteria for determining access to different security zones, and has put no appeals process in place to contest access designations.

The letter also addresses expanded use of flight restrictions imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration around National Special Security Events such as political conventions. The FAA used “no-fly zones” in Ferguson, Missouri to obstruct journalists from covering confrontations between police and law enforcement.

The ACLU is encouraging media outlets concerned about the credentialing process or flight restrictions to reach out to the organization for guidance.

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