LINCOLN, Neb. – The ACLU of Nebraska is calling on Governor Pete Ricketts to immediately reconsider two recent media access decisions so that no journalists are unjustly barred from covering his press conferences.
In a letter sent Tuesday, the civil rights organization raised concerns with the governor’s decision to ban local community news organization North Omaha Information Support Everyone (NOISE) from press briefings. The ACLU also pointed to problems with a new press credentialing process that came out of that controversy.
The credentialing process has been criticized by major Nebraska media outlets, professional journalism associations and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press for a variety of reasons, including the potential that staff could use it to arbitrarily restrict journalists from attending press briefings under the guise of security and operational considerations.
In the letter, ACLU of Nebraska Executive Director Danielle Conrad said the policy should be either reworked or replaced with an approach that better preserves open government.
“We challenge you to chart a new path and to lead with sound policy and fair practices so journalists can do their important jobs and so that more Nebraskans understand and participate in civic affairs,” the letter reads in part.
The message comes a day before the Governor’s next scheduled press conference.