Execution to air, but not for public

Attorney General John Ashcroft said Thursday that relatives of the victims
and survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing would be able to watch convicted
bomber Timothy McVeigh die on closed-circuit television, but he will not open
the execution viewing to the public.

''The Oklahoma City survivors may be the largest group of crime victims in
our history,'' Ashcroft said Thursday. ''The Department of Justice must make
special provisions to assist the needs of the survivors and the victims'

However, he added, the DOJ and the FBI would be vigilant in preventing any
pirating or recording of the execution.

McVeigh said in February that he would like to see his execution televised
nationally, but federal regulations prevent such a telecast and no network has
challenged that, although there have been many requests for interviews with the
convicted mass murderer.

A soft-core porn site did request, unsuccessfully, the opportunity to Webcast
the execution. The federal court that tried McVeigh also denied Courtroom
Television Network and other TV-news organizations the opportunity to televise
the trial, although a closed-circuit viewing was set up in Oklahoma City for
survivors and victims' relatives.

Meanwhile, reports from Terre Haute, Ind., the site of the execution,
suggested a major media influx, with hotel-room availability disappearing.
Indiana State University is opening its dorms to the media.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.