The RTCA Executive Committee supports the Standing Committee of Correspondents on being opposed to magnetometers being installed inside the Senate Press Gallery during the impeachment trial.
The Executive Committee of Correspondents has voted to support the following statement:
The Standing Committee of Correspondents remains vehemently opposed to the installation of a magnetometer inside the Senate Press Gallery during the Senate impeachment trial. The device will disrupt news gathering, diminishes workspace in the gallery that could be used for press conferences and the noise will be a distraction during a trial that is expected to be a solemn event.
Americans deserve unfettered access to what is happening in that room in one of the most pivotal moments in U.S. history. The cameras inside the Senate are controlled by the chamber. No photographers are allowed. The public has a right to information from a source not controlled by the government. We’ve yet to get an explanation for why at a time of such intense interest the Senate will place what appears to be another barrier in the path to informing the public. No such machine was needed during the Clinton impeachment.
There is a two century precedent and tradition of reporters having direct access to the chamber at all times during open sessions of the body. We need to be able to freely enter and exit the chamber for unanticipated news coverage. We don’t have electronic devices like laptops to handle routine communications. A disruption of that access is something we cannot abide.
The Standing Committee needs a direct and exact rationale for why this magnetometer is necessary for public safety. Can we meet with the Sergeant at Arms Tuesday?