Letter: Ag-gag

March 30, 2014 

The "ag-gag" bill was swiftly passed and signed into law despite opposition from the apparent majority of citizens. As the Boise Weekly story revealed, it was one of several bills brought to the Legislature this year sponsored by the American Legislative Exchange Council and patterned after bills in other states. So much for the idea of local politicians being responsive to the people they serve.

I do understand the concern of a business owner about videos or other images of their business operations being placed on the Internet without any regulation. Videos or interviews can be edited to be misrepresentative and do unfair harm to a business. Maybe whistleblowers should be required to go to regulatory agencies before taking their case to the public. However, there are likely situations where going through "proper channels" is a roadblock.

This bill criminalizes undercover, expose journalism. That is a critical tool for an informed public. Do you want everything that happens in your child's preschool or mother's nursing home to be behind closed doors? Official inspections will never uncover the activities that can be exposed with undercover journalism. The public needs this right.

Nancy Basinger, Boise

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