Privacy at What Cost?

Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Late last night the judge in the Kobe Bryant trial released the transcript which was accidentally e-mailed to several new organization.

For those who live in a cave and don't know the judge's clerk mistakenly emailed closed-door transcripts to several news organizations. Immediately realizing the mistake, the judge ordered the news organizations to not publish the transcript. The media groups immediately filed a petition to the Colorado Supreme Court claiming this was an unconstitutional example of prior restraint. Surprisingly the Colorado Supreme Court upheld the ruling. It was immediately appealed to the Supreme Court but Justice Breyer side stepped the issue and refused to rule on it.

So under pressure to resolve the issue, the Judge released the transcript with a few parts redacted in order to protect the privacy of those involved.

To be honest, while curious about what the transcripts said, I don't particularly care if the judge wants to keep the hearings private. But that is HIS responsibility and not the press. He failed in his responsibility and now expects the media to the job for him.

We are all harmed when such prior restraint is allowed. I'm shocked and disappointed at the Colorado Supreme Court and Justice Breyer. In a free country such as ours it is essential that the government not be allowed to tell the press what it can and cannot print. The media, no matter what you may believe about it, is the only reality check we can have against our government. Otherwise we would be force to believe the propaganda that our country feeds us.

I can only hope that the Media organizations move to refuse this "redacted" version of the transcript and appeal to the full Supreme Court for a full and unconditioned release of the transcript. I don't care what the removed parts of the transcript say, but I do care that my government believes it can prevent me from knowing about it.