Barring Media from the Spill

It's already difficult enough to access many of the affected areas in light of the geographic hurdles...but this hurdle, which I've noted before, enters the realm of illegality:

Journalists struggling to document the impact of the oil rig explosion have repeatedly found themselves turned away from public areas affected by the spill, and not only by BP and its contractors, but by local law enforcement, the Coast Guard and government officials.

On Saturday, I went to the wildlife rehabilitation center set up at a facility just above Fort Jackson with someone who had a press pass from a publication in Lafayette, Louisiana.  Even with the pass, he was barred by a guard at the gate (visible in blue below) from going in to photograph the oiled pelicans, etc. - access is limited, we found out, to a period from 1-2 p.m. each day.

While that restriction makes a bit more sense than flat out bars to the marshes and beaches because it's in the context of a limited structure (and I'm not sure if it's normally a public facility or not), it still seemed bit odd - it wasn't as if there was a herd of news media swarming the facility beyond the one other man with a video camera (visible in black at the extreme right of the photo standing over his camera).