Kasich still misses point on openness

Published 10:15 am Wednesday, March 16, 2011

There is a sad irony that at the start of Sunshine Week — an annual recognition of the push for public records and open government — new Ohio Gov. John Kasich continued his trend of trying to limit the media, and by extension, limit the public.

But, thankfully, he also continued the trend of reversing these decisions to get it right, although it took significant media pressure to make that happen.

The issue arose when public relations staff for the Kasich administration informed the media that no photographs, video or shareable audio recordings would be permitted at Tuesday’s budget presentation.

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This level of exclusion is unprecedented and would have continued a disturbing trend that began when Kasich tried to limit the media at an inauguration ceremony. He later reversed that decision as well.

Edward L. Esposito, trustee of the Radio Television Digital News Foundation, perfectly summed up the objections echoed by print and broadcast journalists across the state.

“To deny electronic journalists the ability to use the very tools of electronic journalism in coverage of the most important budget issue in Ohio’s recent history is to deny the citizens of Ohio the ability to weigh the observations and positions of Governor Kasich at precisely the time when they need to see and hear him the most,” he wrote in an e-mail. “It is unconscionable to insist broadcast and Internet members of the statehouse news gathering process operate as they did 50 years ago.”

We are pleased that the governor got it right and hope he uses this week as a learning point to embrace open government.

Continuing to exclude the media will only serve to shut out the citizens of Ohio.