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Discussion Transcripts: Media Coverage of Terrorism

Since 9/11, three major pieces of legislation have passed that regulate the manner in which the federal government will control “Homeland Security Information.” These laws require that state and local governments as well as certain private corporations and public utilities adopt new controls over information.

There is a great deal of confusion among the media and state, local, and federal officials about the specific, and sometimes contradictory, requirements for sharing information related to ‘terrorism.’ The requirements have implications for the kinds of information officials believe they can share with reporters, and may create limitations for journalists’ reporting. The media are concerned that they will not be able to get important information such as environmental reports on chemical plants, safety reports on bridges, staffing patterns and budgets for state and local governments, and information on public hazards such as pollution runoffs from factories because of restrictions on homeland security information.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center hosted a discussion with top media representatives and government officials about the questions these new laws raise.