Ind. official loses bid to bar TV cameras from hearing

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Television cameras will have access to a high-profile hearing next week involving a top Indiana state official, WISH-TV reports.

The Indiana Recount Commission rejected a request by Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White to close the hearing to cameras. White, who is facing multiple criminal charges of voter fraud, is slated to testify at the hearing. His eligibility to serve as secretary of state is being reviewed by the commission.

White’s attorney, James Bopp, told the commission that cameras might intimidate and discomfort witnesses. Bopp said reporters should only be able to take notes.

Attorneys for WISH-TV intervened to challenge the closure request, arguing that barring television cameras from the hearing would violate Indiana’s Open Door Law.

Indeed, Stephen Key, executive director and general counsel to the Hoosier State Press Association, notes in an op-ed this week that a 1989 Indiana Supreme Court case clearly upheld the right to record public meetings.

“The public’s right to know whether one of the top elected officials should be removed from office, overturning the election result, trumps the uneasiness witnesses may experience knowing their testimony is being videorecorded,” Key writes.

The hearing will also be streamed live online.

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