Scalia Apologizes For Tape Erasures, Keeps TV Ban

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia apologized to two Mississippi reporters who were required to erase recordings of a speech he gave at a high school there last week, the New York Times reports. Reporters for The Associated Press and a local newspaper were told by a federal marshal to destroy the recordings. Scalia referred to the apologies in a letter to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which had protested the marshal’s actions. Calling the organization’s concern “well justified,” Scalia said “You are correct that the action was not taken at my direction. I was as upset as you were.”

Scalia indicated he would continue to ban the recording of his speeches by the broadcast press. “The electronic media have in the past respected my First Amendment right not to speak on radio or television when I do not wish to do so,” he wrote, “and I am sure that courtesy will continue.” Barbara Cochran, president of the Radio-Television News Directors Association, objected in a letter to Justice Scalia yesterday. “There is no legal basis for such discrimination,” she wrote. “To exclude television cameras and audio recording is the equivalent of taking away pencil and paper from print reporters.”

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/13/politics/13SCAL.html

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