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First Amendment

City Attorney Probes TV Show Cancellation

Posted Nov 16, 2007 8:09 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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First Amendment experts are criticizing a city attorney’s probe into the cancellation of a TV show on which he was a frequent guest.

San Diego City Attorney Michael Aguirre is seeking e-mails, financial statements and other documents from public-television station KPBS, the San Diego Union Tribune reports. Aguirre wants to know about news programming decisions, big station donors, and contacts between the station’s journalists and the mayor’s office.

Aguirre recently issued a report concluding the station failed in its duty “to maintain objectivity and balance” in local public affairs programming when it cancelled Full Focus. Aguirre had appeared on the program 15 times over four years.

Lucy Dalglish, executive director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, criticized the investigation. “Just about the last thing you want in a free society is a government official going in and mucking around in a newsroom and making programming decisions,” she told the Union Tribune.

A hat tip to Romenesko of Poynteronline.com, which posted the story.

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