The Chronicle’s Nanette Asimov reports that a filmmaker who has been shooting a documentary on the UC system was prevented from entering a public meeting with a video camera Thursday because he lacked a press credential.
Peter Scheer, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, told the Chron that the filmmaker had every right to be in the hearing room and record the event under the Bagley-Keene open meeting law.
Unfortunately, film maker Ric Chevez wasn’t aware that he had a right to film the meeting, and asked UC’s PR people for permission. After questioning him about the content and purpose of the film, which is also illegal, they denied him access.
The Chron said that one of the three UC PR people involved in the fiasco, Lynn Tierney, said she had never heard of Bagley-Keene.
UPDATE, Friday, July 16, 7 p.m.:SPJ NorCal sent the following letter to the UC Regents:
- The Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter (SPJ NorCal) is deeply concerned over reports that a local filmmaker, Ric Sanchez, was prevented from videotaping your meeting of Thursday, July 15.
- There is more at stake here than the question of whether the conduct by your security staff violated the state open-meetings law known as the Bagley-Keene Act.
- Equally or more important is the example that the Board of Regents and the University set for the students whom you are charged with preparing to participate in a democracy.
- We would appreciate hearing from your offices on this matter. Thank you for your attention.
- Liz Enochs, SPJ NorCal President
- Rebecca Bowe, Mark Conrad, SPJ NorCal Freedom of Information Committee Co-Chairs