SHORT ITEMS & UPDATES:
* Over 300 copies of the Salt Lake City, Utah newspaper Deseret News were confiscated from spectators awaiting a speech by Barbara Bush at Utah Valley State College and thrown away. The director of the campus center where the speech was scheduled told the News that the papers could be used to disguise faces or conceal weapons. However, the Secret Service agent in charge of security for the event said that he knew of no policy that barred distribution of newspapers at speeches by dignitaries, according to Editor & Publisher.
* The Federal Communications Commission has ordered radio stations to stop airing advertisements for gambling at casinos run by Native Americans, according to Associated Press reports. Federal law and the FCC make it a crime for broadcasters to advertise games of chance, with some exceptions. The decision came after Guy Clark, executive director of the New Mexico Coalition Against Gambling, complained to the FCC that the stations were airing illegal ads.
* ABC News in early April complied with an order by the federal District Court in Little Rock, Ark. to turn over to the court the unaired portions of an interview with Whitewater witness David Hale. The judge said he will review the outtakes to determine if they could be used as evidence in the Whitewater loan fraud and conspiracy trial of Gov. Jim Guy Tucker and James and Susan McDougal.
In late March, the court ordered CNN and NBC to turn over outtakes of their interviews with Hale. After reviewing the tapes in chambers, the judge ruled that the unaired portions of the interviews might be evidence that could undermine Hale’s credibility. CNN and NBC did not appeal the ruling and turned the tapes over to McDougal in early April. (United States v. McDougal; Media Counsel: Phil Anderson, Little Rock)
* In early April, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California filed suit on behalf of journalists and First Amendment advocates in federal District Court in San Francisco challenging the secrecy of the state’s prison execution procedures.
At the last execution in late February, reporters and witnesses were not allowed to view the initial steps of the procedure, such as when the prisoner was strapped to the table and had intravenous tubes inserted in his arm.
The suit complains that the public and media have a First Amendment right to have witnesses observe the complete execution. The ACLU is seeking an immediate injunction to prevent the prison from implementing the same restrictions during an execution scheduled for May 3. (California First Amendment Coalition v. Calderon; Media Counsel: Alan Schlosser)
* A Singaporean court ordered American professor Christopher Lingle to pay $71,000 in libel damages to former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew for an October 1994 article Lingle wrote for the International Herald Tribune. Lee claimed the article alleged that political corruption was common in Singapore, although Lingle’s article never mentioned any country or individuals’ names. Lingle left the country last year and said he does not intend to return.