Armstrong: Legislature has no business defining ‘news media’

Complete Colorado: Equality before the law is a fundamental tenet of broadly liberal republican democracy. Yet under new draft legislation concerning “access to government records,” dated March 9 and sponsored by Senator Chris Hansen and Rep. Marc Snyder, some journalists would be more equal than others under Colorado law.

Getting government into the business of defining what is and what is not “news media,” as the draft legislation seeks to do, is a very dangerous game. As I remarked on Twitter, the measure “creates a caste system of government-privileged reporters and second-class citizens.”

As the editor of Colorado Newsline points out, his publication would be excluded from special consideration under the drafted language. And, ironically, the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition also would be excluded. So too would Complete Colorado. The definition of “news media” consumes nearly two pages of Byzantine legalese.

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