A reporter was recently stopped by a public official from tape recording a public meeting.
State House News Service is reporting that on June 2, Michael Travaglini, the executive director of Massachusett’s pension fund, forbid a reporter from tape recording the meeting. Travaglini reportedly said the reporter had “no right” to do such a thing.
The story, which I will try to link to but not sure if you will be able to access because State House News Service is a paid-for service that my company receives, did quote a law that basically states a governmental meetings can be recorded.
In a follow-up email, Travaglini wrote to the News Service, “Walking into an ongoing PRIM meeting and plunking a recording device in the middle of the table certainly qualifies as ‘active interference’ with the conduct of the meeting in my mind. And in case you have amnesia, PRIM is not required under any law to be as cooperative with your outlet as we’ve been (agendas in ADVANCE, answering questions PROMPTLY, giving essentially TOTAL access).” Pension board meetings are public, and the board room is often packed – with officials saving nearly all available seats for colleagues. Reporters and public onlookers are generally relegated to a separate office, from which portions of the proceedings, which govern billions of dollars in pension fund investments and contracts, are inaudible.
Hmm, I would be pretty bitter too if I was told I couldn’t record a public meeting.
What do you think? Did the reporter have a right to record or not?