Tuesday, February 10, 2009

LFP Barred To Do Video News Report Of Aldergrove PAC's Public Town Hall Meeting!

Langley Free Press feels honoured. For the first time ever, we have drawn enough attention that our reporter/photographer was censored! What a tribute to the fact that LFP must really be making a difference and having an impact! Despite the fact that we were asked by more than one member of the taxpaying public to attend and record this public event put on by a public group at a publicly advertised town hall meeting in a public school, the organizers of this so-called public event went out of their way to specifically censor our public reporting. We are indeed humbled!

So let's see, the Aldergrove PAC's, 4 of them apparently, advertise where ever possible about a public town hall meeting held in the Gymnasium of a public High School, ACSS, tonight 7 to 9 pm. They even have set up tables marked for the press and all the local Langley newspapers were present. The Press were taking pictures of the event. Suddenly, two male event organizers tell our Langley Free Press photographer that LFP is not permitted to take any videos of this so called public meeting at all. In fact, they even physically push our camera lens back toward our own LFP photographer telling him to take videos of himself after it is revealed that their whole discussion was being videotaped as well. (Isn't February 25, 2009 Anti-Bullying Day in BC Schools according to CKNW's campaign? What an example to set!).

The two event organizers had specifically walked directly over and said all this right after they were seen talking to one of the controversial school board members (who as a matter of fact has had some interesting experiences previously with press videos as well although never on LFP nor never even republished here on LFP!). These organizers (if in fact they were) further say that they were told that LFP was going to be taking videos and was not permitted to do so unless LFP got permission from the approx 15 head table speakers. Interestingly, when the moderator started the meeting, people were asked to turn off their cell phones but no mention was made about not videotaping. If CTV, Global or CBC camera crews were there, would they have been told to turn off their cameras? An interesting question indeed!

Curiously, the other press where permitted to be there as well with cameras and to report on the event. So why was LFP told not to video? It makes this Editor really wonder what the real issue is here. It certainly doesn't seem to be openess, transparency, democracy and free speech!

The other thing that comes to my mind is that despite all the first hand witnesses who talked to the press about the tragic Vancouver Airport Taser death, none of the reports, news reports nor the RCMP reports came an iota close to revealing what a simple cell phone video ultimately described and revealed.

So the story here on LFP is not the event but that this public meeting was censored. By who? and Why? What's the real agenda here? The fact that LFP was specifically barred from being welcome to video the very publicly advertised so-called public Town Hall meeting is very, very odd. In conclusion, just how public was this meeting? Or was it really just a grandstand opportunity for the organizers behind one of the school board slates who incidentally just happened to be endorsed by the Aldergrove MLA too!

By the way, anyone attending this meeting is encouraged to send us your reports and letters on it. We will publish them. And, if you happened to take a few videos on your cell phones - even better. Send those too!

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