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RTNDA Questions Football Team Owners’ Decision to Bar Local TV Cameras

Mar 31, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The Radio-Television News Directors Association on Friday accused owners of National Football League teams of undermining freedom of the press and asked them to reverse their decision earlier in the week to bar local television stations’ cameras from the sidelines during games.

The new NFL policy is meant to prevent unauthorized use of NFL game highlights on the Internet and on TV stations’ Web sites.

In a letter to NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and the leaders of the NFL rule-making committee, RTNDA President Barbara Cochran said the policy discriminates against TV journalists and said, “The National Football League should not be in a position of subverting the American tradition of a free press.”

“RTNDA’s members are hard-pressed to understand the rationale behind your decision, which effectively prohibits coverage of NFL games by television reporters,” Ms. Cochran wrote. “When electronic journalists are denied the ability to report on a news event with their own microphones, cameras and production crews, it allows newsmakers to determine the content of the news, a result that is inconsistent with our society’s democratic values.”