Report: Greater media access needed for Arkansas executions | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Report: Greater media access needed for Arkansas executions

Posted By on Wed, May 3, 2017 at 3:34 PM

  • Dayanita Ramesh for Media Matters
Media Matters for America, a liberal media watchdog, has posted a report on recent executions in Arkansas and other states that it says illustrate a need for greater media access.

Arkansas’ recent spate of executions of prisoners on death row, conducted with the use of nearly expired and improperly obtained drugs, was marred by reports that the drugs used were ineffective and caused the inmates to suffer. But uncertainty about what happened to inmates in the death chamber illustrates the need for greater reporter access to these events — life and death stories for which they may be the only impartial witness.
Arkansas's housing of the condemned, preparations for execution and the executions themselves are all under strict control — often meaning secrecy — by law and the state Correction Department.

As the article notes, the department only relented at the last minute to an edict that reporters could not take pencil and paper to witness the executions, only parts of which are viewed by witnesses.

The secrecy, it has always seemed clear, is to prevent release of information that might spur opposition to the death penalty. This has particularly been true as the state has reverted to duplicitous and secretive means to obtain drugs used in the killings.

Said Media Matters:

Journalism is instrumental in bringing awareness to, and holding states accountable for, executions that have potentially violated prisoners’ 8th amendment protection from cruel and unusual punishment. An estimated 3 percent of executions from 1890-2010 have been botched in some way, with lethal injection yielding the highest percentage of botched executions. The stakes are high for inmates, their families, and the country. Arkansas and other states that conduct executions should at least let the media fully bear witness.

Tags: , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Governor optimistic on Medicaid work waiver

    Arkansas remains confident that approval of a work requirement for Medicaid eligibility is coming soon. The person who'll make the decision once made money providing advice to Arkansas on Medicaid, a sore point with a Democratic senator.
    • Jan 16, 2018
  • Secrecy at the University of Arkansas

    The UA has come up with a string of excuses for withholding information about pay arrangements with new assistant football coaches. We call horse hockey.
    • Jan 16, 2018
  • Hutchinson has $2 million banked for re-election campaign

    Quarterly campaign finance reports are coming in today and incumbents are bragging, naturally, about the swelling treasuries incumbents typically enjoy. One example: Gov. Asa Hutchinson has $2 million on hand, the AP reports.
    • Jan 16, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation