RTNDA fights prison-access restrictions

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The Radio-Television News Directors Association is asking the Massachusetts
Department of Corrections to rethink new rules that ban cameras and tape
recorders and mandate supervision of some interviews and ban others.

In a letter to Massachusetts corrections commissioner Michael Mahoney, RTNDA
President Barbara Cochran says the restrictions are overly broad and probably
unconstitutional.

While conceding that the Supreme Court has recognized that security and order
are interests that justify limiting prison access, Cochran argues that the
restrictions do little to advance those interests and a lot to impede
newsgathering.

"The interests of the press and those charged with running our nation's
prisons need not necessarily compete," Cochran said, extending an invitation to
Mahoney to talk with RTNDA and local media about "how best to balance those
interests."

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