Reporter Decries L.A. City Hall Media Restrictions As 'Draconian'

Michael Linder, a reporter for KABC 790 Talkradio, decried recent measures that restrict the access reporters have to Los Angeles City Council members.

Although some of the rules was later rolled back, at least verbally, Linder has a problem with what he sees as an attempt at "effectively muzzling the media" at a time when the council is facing tough questions about its ability to straighten out a $585 million budget deficit.

Linder reports that last Tuesday a press representative for council President Eric Garcetti showed reporters a floor plan indicating where they could and couldn't be (essentially near council members -- this restricting their ability to ask them questions without scheduling appointments).

But he says even before that moment a sergeant at arms has been restricting media without legal authority, including the enforcement of a rule that prevents cameras from filming and photographing those testifying before the body, limiting radio reporters' access to audio connections, and preventing reporters in one area from sitting down.

Councilman Dennis Zine had defended Tuesday's new rules, stating that if he visited a media organization his access would be restricted as well. That argument, however, is flawed: Most media organizations, this one included, aren't owned by the people. City Hall is.


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