Professor Discusses Media Rights on WHYY
April 10, 2009 — Professor Anil Kalhan discussed a new Pentagon policy allowing the media to cover the arrival of war casualties at Dover Air Force Base as a panelist on WHYY-TV's "Delaware Tonight" on April 10, 2009.
Kalhan said the policy, which allows media limited access to photograph and report on the arrival of flag-draped coffins, represents "a step forward" from an 18-year-old prohibition on coverage imposed during the administration of the first President Bush.
"When the government restricts media access in terms of war coverage, that's really a serious concern," Kalhan said, "because the potential is always there for the government to manipulate public opinion through selective access."
Kalhan said the U.S. Court of Appeals had upheld the previous policy because the news media could still gather information related to casualties and cover interments.
The previous policy was less restrictive than rules barring media coverage of detention facilities for suspected terrorists, he said.
Still, he added, "it's good to see the media pushing back" against the prior policy, "because it is the leading edge of a broader range of restrictions that are of great concern."
"Delaware Tonight" anchor Nancy Karibjanian also interviewed News Journal reporter Beth Miller and former CNN correspondent and University of Delaware Professor Ralph Begleiter as part of the panel.
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