"Our policies were misinterpreted"
(SAN DIEGO) On January 10, community members involved with the organization of that night's Town Hall meeting prohibited Channel 10 News from entering the meeting, saying cameras would not be permitted to film the forum because The Center prohibited such an action. Local reporter Rex Wockner was also informed he would not be allowed to film.
The Center, however, says that their policies were misinterpreted.
"In the past when The Center has hosted or provided community space for community town halls or community forums pertaining to community events, a number of people have asked that video and audio taping not be allowed or that media access be limited," said Dr. Delores Jacobs, Chief Executive Officer ofthe San Diego LGBT Community Center.
"However, in 2010, in the era of 'citizen journalism,' when all kinds of folks have blogs, YouTube accounts, mobile phones with video and more, it would be unrealistic to think this kind of policy could be enforced uniformly and fairly for all journalists. It is important that media access policies for events apply uniformly to all forms of journalists. The Center apologizes for any misunderstandings regarding media presence and wants all groups and community members to understand that when they attend large, public community forums held in our auditorium, they are participating in a public event at which those around them may choose to blog, record or report.
"This clarification applies only to large, public (meaning advertised as "everybody welcome") events and NOT the private delivery of social services or discussion groups, or those events which are limited to group members that are often held here," continued Jacobs. "The Center remains private property and media are not given access to the private delivery of social services or the private group meetings that may be held here. However, groups that wish to hold large 'open to the public' events are encouraged to discuss and provide for, a uniform process for media access."
The Center, who was not formally involved in the Town Hall meeting, has since stated that had members of their staff been present, they would have encouraged meeting organizers to permit members of the media full access to the proceedings.