MICHIGAN WANTS TO LIMIT PRESS ACCESS TO PRISONS

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By: Staff reports

Newspapers, TV Stations Testify Against Proposal

Michigan newspaper and TV officials testified this week against measures proposed by the Department of Corrections (DOC) that would limit prisoner interviews in Michigan, reported The Associated Press.
The proposed rule changes, submitted by the Michigan Department of Corrections, would ban news cameras and reporters’ recording devices from state prisons. DOC officials argue access to prisoners should be limited to telephone interviews and normal visitation times in order to increase security.

At the proposal’s hearing, testimony was given by officials from the AP, the Michigan Press Association, the Metro Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Detroit Free Press, the Lansing State Journal, Booth Newspapers, ABC News, and Detroit TV stations WJBK and WKBD.

News representatives highlighted previous news stories that instigated change in prison conditions. Informing taxpayers of how their money is spent on prisons was another argument presented by the news officials.
DOC officials will compile public comments and submit a final draft in a month.

In a separate case, ABC News is suing the DOC for refusing to allow on-camera interviews with three prisoners, including a Barbara Walters interview with Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the euthanasia doctor convicted of murdering a terminally ill man.
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Staff reports



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