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Since June 1996, 68-year-old Vigdor Schreibman, an Internet writer whose work touches on everything from the future of the impeachment to the future of the Internet, has been suing the executive committee of the Congressional Periodical Press Galleries for denying him membership. According to Galleries Director David Holmes, Schreibman wasn’t given membership because neither he nor his publicationa column found at the list-serve at http://sunsite.utk.edu/FINS/ and disseminated through various e-mail discussion groupshas ever intended to make a dime from his column. “I find it difficult to distinguish between what he’s doing and someone who hands out leaflets at the corner and as you take it he asks you to throw him 50 cents,” says Holmes. The initial suit was dismissed in August 1997. On Jan. 19, Schreibman filed briefs for an appeal.
Your site used to appear as part of the University of Maryland’s server. Why’d they drop your column?
Maryland got a sudden heart attack when I wrote about the globalization of the Internet. Shortly afterward, they got a major grant from some institution and then they became a “World University” and…the notice of termination came immediately following. I feel there may have been a connection between these events.
Why should the press galleries give you credentials?
I think the question should be turned around. I am a reporter; I comply with the rules….I was granted credentials three years in a row, 1993 through 1995. The difference was that then my application was through a publication, the Electronic Publishing Information Newsletter.
This can’t be the first time that the press galleries have denied someone a press pass.
This type of problem has gone on since the beginning of the country. The insiders have used their power to reject any innovation in the press business. Any time there was a change in the media, there was a war between the insiders and the outsiders until new rules or regulations or some volcanic eruption caused a change. I’m just an incident in this war….With the introduction of the Internet, the 100 million people who have access to the PC have access to a channel of communications and political discourse. According to the Supreme Court, every one of those people is a publisher, so this presents a threat to the gallery and the newspaper field. Jake Tapper