TransLink secrecy dims democracy
Stanley Tromp, Vancouver Courier; 13 Feb 2008
Re: "City councilors poke stick at TransLink shroud of secrecy," Feb. 1.
It is most regrettable that TransLink has chosen to bar the public and media from its meetings, which counters the global trend towards more transparency. One of the reasons cited is that some people have disrupted meetings in the past.
Even if this point was correct, it does not justify locking out the media, who simply and quietly record meetings, and are no more disruptive than Shaw cablevision cameramen at city council meetings.
The media are the public's essential eyes and ears, informing taxpayers on the usage of their funds. To permit the public to read meeting minutes only after the fact is a poor substitute. I propose a compromise for the interim: allow the media to attend the TransLink public sessions as before, or at the very least, permit a pooled camera or microphones to broadcast to people outside in the lobby.
Better yet, TransLink can broadcast meetings to live Internet webcasts, as the B.C. legislature and Vancouver city council do.
Audiotaping trials would be a good alternative to TV
The Vancouver Sun, 06 Apr 1995
There has been much debate recently on whether or not TV cameras should be allowed in Canadian courtrooms. This has focused on the public's right to know versus the privacy of victims and witnesses.
I think an ideal truce would be for trials to be audiotaped, both for the court's records and for the media. Microphones could be unobtrusively placed so as not to distract the trial participants, and any press outlet could plug into a court audio feed.
When the audio portions are played on TV, the clips could be illustrated by the usual courtroom drawings, or by still photos taken outside the courthouse (except of juveniles). Radio would follow all the reporting restrictions that are placed on print coverage, such as shielding family court cases.
This may be the only compromise that all parties could live with: the media would have its dramatic audio, the public would not miss anything critical and witnesses would retain the same level of visual privacy they now have in newspaper reports.