Michael J. Chitwood may have the upper hand for the time being, but one of three things are going to have to haappen because the current situation he created through his elected office and the personnel at his disposal to carry out his wants is an affront to the role of gocvernment and its interaction with media.
First, let me be perfecetly clear about who and what I am. My name is Henry Frederick and I am an established member of the working press here in Central Florida, focused on Volusia, Seminole and Orange counties. And as such I am entitled to "equal access" to potential news in the Volusia County Sheriff's Office. My right of equal access is backed by the constitutions of the State of Florida and of the United States. And the overriding law that protects that right is contained is the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. Freedom of expression consists of the rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and the implied rights of association and belief. The Supreme Court interprets the extent of the protection afforded to these rights. The First Amendment has been interpreted by the Court as applying to the entire federal government even though it is only expressly applicable to Congress. Furthermore, the Court has interpreted, the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as protecting the rights in the First Amendment from interference by state governments.
So let's look at the provisions in the First Amendment, specific to the issue at hand: Freedom of Expression -- Speech and Press.
“The freedom of speech and of the press, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble and consult for their common good, and to apply to the Government for redress of grievances, shall not be infringed,” was drafted in 1789. It was reworked further to state in unequivocal terms: “That Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and consult for their common good, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
What format I use to deliver the news to the public is not Sheriff Chitwood's business. And it is not in his place to exert his authority in such a way that he has infringed on my rights as a member of the working press to gather the news on my time schedule -- not his. And to frame and publish the news on my terms as a trained professional journalist with 30-plus years of experience -- not his.
What Chitwood has done is bastardized the role and influence of government in an over-reaching and destructive way to minimize my reporting as a journalist and as the publisher of Headline Surfer®, an internet-based news outlet that will ccelebrate nine years of continuous service to the people of Volusia County and well beyond by benefit of the news produced by this media outlet.