Montrose Freedom of Press Restriction hearing
2/5/2013 (Updated 10:16:04 PM)MONTROSE -- A Freedom of the Press issue being thrashed out in court Tuesday in Montrose and is fracking at the center of the controversy?
The issue is whether Montrose Town Council can legally restrict press coverage of meetings by prohibiting cameras and recording devices from being used either before or after the actual meetings. Other restrictions had included keeping cameras stationary, unmanned, in the back of the room, and on tripods.
Fox 40 News was subjected to some of the restrictions last year, and a Scranton reporter says he was also restricted, and was body checked by two councilmen in the parking lot, when he tried to ask restrictions about the meeting.
"As long as it's in accordance with the Sunshine Act and I believe under 7.10 there may be a provision that would allow for council to determine their own rules, perhaps," said Jule Ann Skinner, Councilwoman.
"Clearly what they were trying to do was shut people up about the pollution in Dimock cause by Cabot Company," said Lisa Barr, Publisher, Communications in the Law. "This is pollution that the Government of Pennsylvania under Ed Rendell had acknowledged when they said there will be a pipeline and that's what this is about. They were targeting a specific type of speech and they were trying to limit it and that's wrong."
Although fracking has been a hot issue in the Montrose Area, Council has indicated that it has nothing to do with the restrictions.
After hearing the arguments, the judge will rule on the case at a later date.
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