Press Club denounces Islandia secrecy bill

Oct. 6, 2008

A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 7 by the Islandia Village Board in Suffolk County on a local ordinance that, if approved, would bar the audio or video recording and transmission of recordings of public meetings.

The Press Club of Long Island, the local chapter of the national Society of Professional Journalists, opposes restrictions on the public’s right to know what its public officials say and do in public meetings. The Press Club wishes to remind the village trustees that the public is fully entitled to know what goes on at all public municipal meetings, except in the few instances spelled out in the state public meetings law, and that audio and video recording, far from being the obstacle to good governance that the resolution’s sponsors contend, rather facilitates public participation in what their government is doing, and furthermore leads to greater accuracy and credibility in reporting, because the public hears and or sees their elected officials directly. We see any attempt to restrict public access to public decision-making as an interference with the process and an insult to a governmental system in which the people are sovereign.

The public hearing will be at Village Hall, 1100 Old Nichols Road in Islandia, and will start at 7:30 p.m. The Board of Trustees may vote on the resolution after the hearing. We encourage participation by all with an interest in preserving the public’s right to know.

Read a .pdf version of the resolution: Village of Islandia seeks to limit open access.

John O’Connell

President

Press Club of Long Island

Press Club Board

Posted in: FOI

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