Judge John and CitJ: Roberts Supports Media Access, but Does that Include Citizen Journalism?

Judge John (I like that better than Judge Roberts, it sounds more personal, like one of those daytime TV judges) testified that the “media” should have full access to news events such as the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. But what about citizen journalists?

Roberts said: “If it’s a situation in which the public is being given access, you can’t discriminate against the media and say, as a general matter, that the media don’t have access, because their access rights, of course, correspond with those of the public.”

In that case, citizen journalists would fit Robert’s definition – and in fact, because he sees no distinction between public and media access, any blogger or citizen reporter has as much of a right to record news events as CNN.

The sticky wicket has to do with new events that are not public by nature. Can a citizen reporter cross police lines to interview detectives investigating a murder? Are bloggers entitled to First Amendment rights and Shield Law protection?

These are the bigger questions many of us have been asking for months, and it would be great if a Senator put these questions to Judge John. After all, we can either get his answers now, or wait until he gives his answer in the form of a Supreme Court opinion.

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