ASNE joins fight for press access in mine safety probe
ASNE yesterday joined other media organizations in demanding press access to federal investigations into the cause of the recent Upper Big Branch coal mine disaster that claimed 29 lives in West Virginia. A letter delivered to the Mine Safety and Health Administration strenuously objected to plans to bar the press and public as federal investigators begin speaking with miners about the deadly accident. ASNE and the other groups urged the agency to conduct open hearings so miners' eyewitness accounts can be heard by the public; if hearings are not held, the agency should allow members of the press to attend interviews with miners or, at the very least, make transcripts of the interviews available for public view. "A core mission of ASNE is to fight on behalf of its members for open access to government proceedings," said ASNE FOI committee co-chair Tim Franklin. "We won't waver in our battle for press access to events that are so clearly in the public interest."