Letter to Boehner: Expand Video Access

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Inspired in part by a recent C-SPAN letter to incoming Speaker Boehner, Sunlight sent today the following letter to Leader Boehner.

We agree with most of C-SPAN’s requests for broader access to the proceedings of the floor of the House.

Notably, however, Sunlight continues to call for video access that reaches beyond the traditional gatekeepers in the press galleries, to the public in the most direct way we have: online.

We understand that adding new cameras and viewing angles can pose complex questions. However, establishing a responsible way to do so is clearly in the public interest. The floor of the House may be seen in its entirety by citizens who enter the gallery; citizens who cannot visit the gallery in person should be offered a similar view.

Moreover, video of the House Chamber is not truly public when offered only through specific organizations or an established Hill press pool. Complete digital access to floor proceedings should be made directly available to the public, online.

We’ll be pushing for more and better video access in the coming months, as the leadership and committee transitions happen, in accordance with our Rules proposals and related work.

We’re hoping that Boehner builds on the success of current leadership’s HouseLive.gov initiative, that is now bringing streaming video of the floor directly to the public online. Expanding high quality, live video access continues to be a priority of Sunlight’s, and no single organization should have unique control over those feeds.

Following the embed is the text of the letter.

BoehnerCSPAN 12202010

The Honorable John Boehner Republican Leader United States House of Representatives

Dear Representative Boehner:

We are writing to request that you expand digital access to the proceedings of the floor of the House of Representatives.

In a November 9, 2010 letter, C-SPAN requested that its cameras be installed in the House chamber to allow video coverage of the floor proceedings, and that restrictions on capturing member reactions be relaxed. We support removing these restrictions and adding robotically-operated cameras, and also request that all video feeds be made available through HouseLive.gov.

We understand that adding new cameras and viewing angles can pose complex questions. However, establishing a responsible way to do so is clearly in the public interest. The floor of the House may be seen in its entirety by citizens who enter the gallery; citizens who cannot visit the gallery in person should be offered a similar view.

Moreover, video of the House Chamber is not truly public when offered only through specific organizations or an established Hill press pool. Complete digital access to floor proceedings should be made directly available to the public, online.

We recognize the significant steps to make video available to the public that you have already pledged to undertake. We appreciate those efforts and encourage you to continue to make the people’s House open to all Americans.

Please do not hesitate to contact Sunlight’s Policy Director John Wonderlich at (202) 742 – 1520 x234, or jwonderlich@sunlightfoundation.com if we can be of any assistance.

Sincerely,

Ellen S. Miller Executive Director

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