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Friday, February 24, 2012

Mayor's office blocks Burque Blotter from ambassador's visit

The Burque Blotter was recently blocked from covering a story on the Japanese ambassador's, Ichiro Fujisaki, visit to Albuquerque. A press release from Mayor Berry's office was received on Wed., Feb. 22, announcing the ambassador's arrival. The following day the Mayor took Fujisaki on a walking tour of the Albuquerque Bio Park while discussing smart grid technology. A private reception at the Albuquerque Aquarium was to follow. Japan has invested over $30 million in research for such projects in New Mexico which the Mayor feels will benefit Albuquerque.

On Wed., the Blotter asked Deputy Information Officer, Breanna Anderson, via email, what time the event would take place in the hopes of having an opportunity to speak with the Mayor or the ambassador.

"This is simply an announcement, not a public event - given the Ambassador's instructions",  responded Anderson.

However, Albuquerque's news station KOB, ran a story about the "private" event with video footage of the Mayor and First Lady and members of the KOB newsroom, strolling through the Bio Park.  A second email asking Anderson why only certain members of the media were invited to the "private" event with the ambassador was sent this morning. As of press time no response has been received.

The Mayor's recent action to discriminate against certain members of the media prohibiting them form attending events in public places may be considered a violation of the First Amendment, which states, that government shall not abridge the freedom of speech or the press. The Mayor originally ran on a "transparency ticket" before his election in 2009. 

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