Blogging businessman denied media rights at committee
Prominent P.E.I. businessman and active blogger Tim Banks was not allowed to videotape his appearance before a legislative committee Tuesday.
Banks, owner of the property development company APM, was appearing before a committee looking into the role of the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission. For more than a year, he has been commenting on Island issues on his blog and he asked permission to videotape the committee proceedings so he could post them.
That permission was denied, and Banks doesn't believe that's fair.
"I'm out there to send a message to Islanders, and to people that live and invest and work here, that things are happening and if you speak out somebody's going to listen," he said.
Charles MacKay, the clerk of the legislature, said only accredited media are allowed to tape proceedings. MacKay said media must make an application to the legislature and be granted security credentials.
He did not rule out bloggers getting accreditation, but he said the legislature was going to need to set some rules to define who qualifies as a member of the media and who does not.
"There's no set criteria, and that's the problem," said MacKay.
"That's exactly what we'll be required, I think the members [of the legislature] themselves. And the media, to be quite frank with you, should have a role to play in determining who is accredited media at the legislative assembly."
Banks said he does plan to apply for accreditation.