HB 2486 Restricts media access to scenes of emergencies or emergency police activity.

03/21/2021

This bill takes away the power to bring important news to the people of Oregon from any organization who is not credentialed through the government by requiring public bodies to only grant credentialed news media access to scenes of emergencies or emergency police activity that are otherwise closed to public, directs State Police to develop guidelines for press credentialing and content of briefings. The law proposes to grant favoritism to only select main stream media outlets.

Personal Choice and Responsibility
An Emergency Clause has been attached to this legislation, which would make the law instantly placed into law and prevent public challenge. The guidelines for when public bodies should conduct safety briefings for news media includes recommended content that is filter news by rulemaking that news representatives don’t have access to for verification.

Limited Government
When government heavily mandates journalism, the truly free press cannot easily or accurately portray the news of the stories happening around us, information that we all rely on for various reasons. Free speech in danger can endanger us all. The bill states that it would give officials of public bodies the power to grant news media representatives access to scenes of emergencies or emergency police activity that are otherwise closed to the public. It does provide exceptions when access may be denied. Perhaps most disturbingly, the bill directs the Department of State Police to develop guidelines for press credentialing, and requires the department to consult with law enforcement and fire department personnel, representatives of local governing bodies and representatives of news media organizations in developing those guidelines. Proposed to be hidden in the law that access to scenes of emergencies or emergency police activity may be denied if the presence of news media representatives or the activities being conducted by new media representatives compromise the safety of emergency response employees, impede the response of emergency equipment or personnel or impede the investigation of the incident that constitutes the scene of emergency or emergency police activity. All excuses to deny public to eyewitness facts.

Free Markets
HB 2486 can be described as anti-independent journalism legislation. The law proposes to grant favoritism to only select main stream media outlets.

Comments

  1. You dumb asses. This law would allow media personel ON SCENE at emergencies.

    Current law prohibits journalists from entering crime scenes without an escort. And even then, most agencies are loathe to provide one to you. This law would allow journalists and media personnel access to natural disaster scenes such as flooding, wildfires, and major crashes.

    This is an absolute must have law, and one that has been needed for ages.

    • Oregon currently has a “first informer broadcaster” statute that permits employees of designated broadcasters to access emergency areas for “the purposes of maintaining transmitters, generators or other essential equipment at a broadcast station or facility used to acquire, produce or transmit news or public safety information related to the emergency.” This statute was revised by Senate Bill 104 (2021), which will allow the Office of
      Emergency Management to establish programs, or authorize certain private entities to establish programs, to credential individuals as critical service providers.
      House Bill 2486 requires officials of public bodies to grant news media representatives access to scenes of emergencies or emergency police activity that are otherwise closed to public.
      Both are not a guarantee that any news will have access to emergency areas since the bills are vague.

  2. Thank goodness this bill died. With today’s media, can you imagine the problems they would cause by blabbing information out before the proper persons were notified, or the danger they would put first responders in by getting in the way and giving them more things to worry about while trying to take care of an emergency?

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