Why did I sign the open statement “Local Media Access at City Hall: A Joint Statement”
The answer is simple, it’s the right thing to do.
It’s been an interesting week at Hamilton City Hall after the statements by Mayor Bob Bratina’s chief of staff on 900CHML last week. (Listen to the full 14 minutes of audio here)
The statements included repeated references to allowing coverage of City Hall only by those with “a boss that I can complain to.”
It is a wrong criteria for allowing coverage of City Hall or any government for that matter.
The media is changing. Many local independent media outlets are starting across North America.
Hamilton has yet to have a local independent incorporate, we do enjoy a few blogs which are doing their best to navigate the new landscape. Hamilton is lucky as the fourth city that OpenFile arrived in.
The erosion of citizen rights is wrong and as a journalist, I would not accept my rights being eroded so why should I stand silently by as it is proposed to take away the rights of others.
I had a choice Monday when approached by a local blogger.
I could have easily reached for the false god of complete objectivity and said “I’m a journalist, this doesn’t impact me, sorry you’re on your own because I need to be seen as objective. You’ll have my support when this directly impacts me”
It would be completely hypocritical to stay silent because it doesn’t impact me.
As a citizen it is my duty to stand up for the this passage from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms:
- Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
It’s all of our duty to make sure citizens who engage in journalism out of passion can exercise their Charter Rights.