J-Groups Seek Open MSHA Inquiry

May 5, 2010

SEJ and eight other journalism organizations called on the Mine Safety and Health Administration April 26 to open to the public its investigation into the Massey mine disaster that killed 29 people.

In a letter to MSHA head Joseph A. Main, the groups said: "The public interest in what happened at the Upper Big Branch Mine is monumental. The presence of government investigators cannot substitute for the role of the news media in examining MSHA's enforcement of the law at the mine, and whether the accident is properly investigated."

The organizations signing the letter were the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Charleston Gazette, the American Society of News Editors, the Associated Press, Capitol Reporters and Editors, Radio Television Digital News Association, the National Newspaper Association, the Society of Environmental Journalists, and the Society of Professional Journalists.

The groups asked for public hearings and access to raw interview recordings or transcripts.

The United Mine Workers of America has also called for an open investigation.