Democracy is threatened when information is controlled by a select few


NEW YORK – The NewsGuild of New York supports state Senate Bill S7759, which would keep police radio transmissions open to the public.

Known as the ‘Keep Police Radio Public Act,’ the bill would ensure that journalists and the public can listen to police transmissions without any barriers. The NewsGuild of New York is the labor union representing nearly 6,000 workers, most of whom are journalists. 

“Democracy is threatened when information is controlled by a select few and with the possibility of the police ultimately controlling the messaging and speed of transmissions, it clearly presents a disservice and danger to the public,” said Eric Russ, visual content editor at Scholastic. “Anything other than keeping communication open violates the spirit of the First Amendment and freedom of the press. And violating the First Amendment and freedom of the press is exactly what encrypting transmissions will do.”

Every day, members of the news media rely on police radio transmissions to respond quickly to shootings, fires, buildings collapses and other emergencies. This access allows the media to provide vital information to the public and gives reporters a better chance of interviewing witnesses and survivors on the scene, providing a more complete, timely and accurate picture of current events. 

“When the public needs rapid emergency information, they turn to us in the media,” added Russ. “We are the responsible resource for the public to receive timely and factual information and any delays in police transmissions would threaten that.”

In addition, members of the NewsGuild of New York have seen far too many times the abuse, corruption and cover-ups from some politicians, corporations and the police when it comes to information. 

“Our journalists present an unfiltered, unbiased and responsible view of events that affect our global and local communities,” said Susan DeCarava, president of the NewsGuild of New York. “To continue to meet our journalistic responsibilities, whether it’s covering government, business, sports, or emergencies, we demand open transmissions and we support state Senate bill S7759. “

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