News Release

Transcribing Bradley Manning’s Trial: Group Tries to Ensure Transparency



TREVOR TIMM, trevor at, @TrevorTimm
RAINEY REITMAN, rainey at, @RaineyReitman
Timm is co-founder and executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation; Reitman is co-founder and chief operations officer of the organization.

The group just released a statement about their campaign to ensure a transcript for the trial of Bradley Manning, scheduled to begin June 3: “As has been documented by many media organizations, the pre-trial hearings of Bradley Manning have been hampered by heavy-handed government secrecy. Government briefs are not released to the public, written rulings are rarely given to journalists, and most importantly, there is no official transcript of the proceedings. This has denied the public of opportunities for a range of accurate, timely, and in-depth reporting on the trial.

“The Center for Constitutional Rights filed a First Amendment lawsuit on behalf of a variety of news organizations and journalists seeking timely access to court documents, but the military court of appeals ruled in favor of continued secrecy.

“As PBS recounted recently, ‘Because there is no official court record, the public is entirely dependent on the accounts of the reporters on-scene — the few who can fit into the courtroom making notes longhand, or the rest who report from the media center, typing down words and details frantically and hoping they don’t make any mistakes.’

“This campaign aims to fully fund a court stenographer, who will be credentialed with a media organization and attend the trial in the court’s media room. The court stenographer will produce a transcript of the trial, and as soon as the transcripts are available, the Freedom of the Press Foundation will post them online for journalists and the public.

“‘Journalists covering Manning’s case face many Kafkaesque obstacles, but nothing is more punitive than the government’s refusal to provide a timely and accurate transcript. By funding a court stenographer, we hope to help journalists in their effort to report on the trial,’ said Laura Poitras, a documentary filmmaker who serves on the board of directors of Freedom of the Press Foundation and attended Manning’s Article 32 hearing.”

Reitman also just wrote the piece “SF Pride Board Denies Public Access to Public Hearing” about SF Pride Board’s “recent decision to rescind Bradley Manning as a grand marshal from the upcoming parade.”