Media Access The United States Supreme Court Has Consistently

Media Access The United States Supreme Court Has Consistently

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Media Access:
The United States Supreme Court has consistently held that the news
media have no greater right to information than the general public.
Access to Criminal Justice Information:
The Supreme Court maintains that a report has no greater legal right
to criminal justice information than the public-at-large.
Branzburg vs. Hayes (408 U.S. 665, 684 [1972]), the Court held that
the First Amendment does not guarantee the press special access to
information not available to the public generally.
Pell vs. Procunier (417 U.S. 817, 843-5 [1974]) the Court guaranteed
journalists constitutional section for confidentiality of sources but
did not require the government to make information available to
journalists that is not available to the public.
Access to Crime Scenes & Disaster Areas:
The Supreme Court has ruled that the news media has no greater legal
right of access to crime and disaster scenes than does the general
public.
Branzburg vs. Hayes (408 U.S. 665, 684-5 [1975]), the Court excluded
the press from grand jury proceedings, the Supreme Court’s own
conferences, the meetings of other official bodies, and the meetings
of private organizations. The Court also stated “Newsmen have no
constitutional right of access to the scenes of crime or disaster when
the general public is excluded, and they may be prohibited from
attending or publishing information about trials if such restrictions
are necessary to assure a defendant a fair trial before an impartial
tribunal, …”
California Penal Code Section 409.5(d) allows media access to scenes
of disaster, riot, or civil disturbance but not to crime scenes.
However, this statement does not imply that the news media can
interfere with incident operations. Properly identified members of the
news media should not be restricted from entering locations specified
in Section 409.5 of the Penal Code. If entering such a location is
hazardous, they should be advised; media access cannot be prevented
for safety reasons unless their presence would impede by blocking
entrances or exits or disturbing evidence.