National Press Club

National Press Club Backs C-SPAN's Call For A More Open Congress

January 3, 2007

The National Press Club today supported a call by C-SPAN for a more open U.S. House of Representatives.

C-SPAN, which has used its access to Congress to inform Americans in a responsible and reliable manner for decades, recently asked incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to ease restrictions on what its cameras can film of the House floor and to provide immediate access to electronic records of House votes. Both actions are needed to give the public a fuller accounting of Congress. Representative Pelosi turned down the request for greater camera access and is considering the request regarding voting records.

The NPC asks that she reconsider her rejection of the camera request and adopt both C-SPAN recommendations.

"The public's right to know includes the right to know what its representatives are doing on the House floor," NPC President Jonathan D. Salant said. "Making Congress more open and more accountable is in the public interest."

C-SPAN is currently allowed to film only the member who is speaking in the House but not other activities occurring in the chamber. In addition, the network does not have immediate access to electronic voting records, though they are produced instantly, and thus has to wait before being able to share them with the public.

The National Press Club comprises nearly 4,000 reporters, editors, public information officers and others associated with the profession of journalism.

For more information, contact Geneva Overholser, chair of the NPC Freedom of the Press Committee, at 202 744 2235.