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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Burque blotter blocked by Mayor

By Pilar Armstrong

Sometime around Feb. 6, 2012 and Feb. 7, 2012 The Burque Blotter ceased receiving email notifications from the Albuquerque Police Department. On Feb. 8, 2012, both Public Information Officers Robert Gibbs and Tasia Martinez were contacted via email and phone as to inquire why The Burque Blotter was no longer receiving media alerts. Officer Martinez informed me (Pilar Armstrong) that I should address the Mayor's office with this issue since all media must first register through the Mayor's office. In informed Officer Martinez that I was currently on the City of Albuquerque's Media Release List and was currently receiving press releases from the Mayor's office. A voice mail message was left with Deputy Director of Information, Breannna Anderson, from the Mayor's office today, Feb. 9, 2012. As stated in an early posting for the Blotter, I had to wait several weeks before I was "approved" to be placed on the City's media release list. Accessibly to information by the media and individual citizens is linked to transparency and accountability in government. An inquiry as to what my rights were as an independent, online, journalist was made to New Mexico Foundation for Open Government. Executive Director, Sarah Welch, responded with the following comment.

"The key for me is transparency and consistency. Mistakes happen, of course, but it behooves agencies to have clear guidelines and policies that govern things like media advisory lists and press passes". 

It is unclear at this point in time as to whether or not the Blotter was intentionally taken off the media release list for APD. A list of guidelines and policies were never sent to the Blotter from the Mayor's office so it is unclear as to what policies were violated, if that is the case. 

The Burque Blotter currently follows APD SIG Alerts and general alerts on Twitter. 

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