COLUMBUS- Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio sent a letter to Governor John Kasich urging him to lift restrictions on members of the press from recording his announcement of his biennial budget on March 15, 2011. According to news reports, Governor Kasich will not allow members of the press to video record his speech or take photos. He will allow audio recording, but only to be used for fact checking and not for broadcast.
“Ohio’s biennial budget promises to be one of the most significant pieces of legislation to come from Governor Kasich’s administration over the next two years. Every resident has a stake in understanding and thoroughly vetting these policies. By limiting the press’ access, he has effectively shut the door on the public’s right to know,” said ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link.
March 13-19, 2011, marks the nationally known celebration of Sunshine Week, which was created by journalists to celebrate access to public records and open meetings.
“Governor Kasich has decided to celebrate Sunshine Week by shrouding his budget announcement in unprecedented secrecy. The public deserves better,” added Link.
Statehouse journalists and other media outlets filed appeals with the Governor’s office on March 14, challenging the ban.
Link concluded, “Inevitably, secrecy undermines even the most laudable of goals. No matter what Governor Kasich’s budget proposals are, the fact that he wishes to hide them from full scrutiny by the press will only create doubt in the minds of the public.”