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Thursday, 19 April, 2001, 17:44 GMT 18:44 UK
McVeigh death banned from web
The death chamber
McVeigh will be executed in this room on May 16
By BBC News Online's Kevin Anderson in Washington

A federal judge in the United States has denied a request by a website to broadcast the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh live on the internet.

Derek Newman, the attorney representing Entertainment Network Incorporated in the case argued that "the public has a right to know what goes on", and the press had a First Amendment right to broadcast the execution.

But the judge ruled that the First Amendment guarantees for freedom of the press did not entitle anyone to transmit pictures of the execution, scheduled for 16 May.

Under federal law in the US, members of the media may be present at an execution, but the law does not allow media witnesses to record the event.

Appeal planned

Entertainment Network executive David Marshlack said the company would appeal the ruling.
Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh
McVeigh's actions led to the death of 149 adults and 19 children

The company, based in the state of Florida, sued the US Government this month saying that the Bureau of Prisons regulations governing execution coverage were unconstitutional.

In his ruling, the judge said that the prison authority's rules provided for media access and that prison officials, who are responsible for security, are in the best position to establish guidelines for such access.

"Whatever First Amendment protection exists for viewing executions, it is not violated by the Bureau of Prisons' explicit regulation against recording or broadcasting them to the public," the judge wrote in his ruling.

Shocking content

Entertainment Network is well known for trying to entice viewers to its websites with shocking content.

If it were successful in its bid to webcast the execution, the company had planned to charge each viewer $1.95.

The ruling came six years to the day after a blast tore through the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

The names of the 149 adults and 19 children killed in the blast were read at a memorial service at the site of the blast on Thursday.

McVeigh is scheduled to die by lethal injection on May 16 at a US Penitentiary in Indiana.

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See also:

19 Apr 01 | Americas
Oklahoma marks bomb anniversary
19 Apr 01 | Talking Point
Should the world watch?
12 Apr 01 | Americas
Victims to view McVeigh execution
12 Apr 01 | Americas
Live from death row
11 Apr 01 | Sci/Tech
Legal battle for live execution
16 Jan 01 | Americas
Oklahoma bomber to die in May
11 Feb 01 | Americas
Bomber wants public execution
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