A comprehensive protest against Santa Ana's new media policy at public meetings has been launched by the First Amendment Coalition, with support from various journalistic entities, including El Santanero.

In a detailed letter to Thomas R. Hatch, the interim city manager, the Coalition strongly criticized the city's stance, which they claim hinders journalists' ability to report on civic affairs effectively. The policy in question outlines specific zones for media equipment and recording activities, a move the Coalition deems excessive and an affront to the Ralph M. Brown Act's provisions on press freedoms.

The city's policy, meant to minimize disruptions at public meetings, has been labeled as overly restrictive and potentially unconstitutional, as it limits when and where journalists can film or record, raising alarms about the broader implications for transparency and accountability in local government.

Legal Director David Loy of the First Amendment Coalition stated, "We urge you to immediately withdraw the policy and commit to adhering to the Brown Act and respecting press rights." The letter goes on to detail the Act’s clauses, emphasizing the right to record public meetings without significant disruption.

Santa Ana now faces a pivotal moment where the necessity for order at public meetings is pitted against the fundamental rights of a free press. The outcome of this may set a precedent for how media policies are shaped in relation to public gatherings and the scrutiny of government proceedings, especially ahead of an election year.

El Santanero, represented by Co-Founder Daniel Diaz, also expressed strong disapproval of Santa Ana's media policy. In the letter to Thomas Hatch, they argue that the policy conflicts with press freedom laws, potentially obstructing the media's essential role in promoting transparent governance.

El Santanero's response and call for policy revision underline the growing resistance against the city's approach to media regulation. For a comprehensive understanding of our stance, readers are encouraged to view El Santanero's full letter to Thomas Hatch available online.