FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2019
Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief Signs “Shield Act” into Law, Affirms Editorial Independence for Mvskoke Media
OKMULGEE, Okla. – On Feb. 28, 2019, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James R. Floyd signed into law NCA 19-031, entitled “Shield Act”, a law which provides Mvskoke Media with editorial independence by placing editorial oversight among the Mvskoke Media Managing Editor and Editorial Board, while the financial and budget oversight will be through a coordinating effort of the Secretary of the Nation and Commerce and Mvskoke Media Director.
During the Feb. 23 National Council Regular Session, council members voted 14-1 to pass NCA 19-031, with National Council Rep. Mark Randolph voting against it.
The “Shield Act” was introduced by the Office of Principal Chief and sponsored by Reps. David Hill, Robert Hufft, Travis Scott, Darrell Proctor and Adam Jones III.
NCA 19-031 states Mvskoke Media “shall be independent from political influence in its editorial content. All editorial content and review shall be at the discretion of the Mvskoke Media Managing Editor and Editorial Board, only. Mvskoke Media financial oversight and budgeting shall be a coordinated effort between the Mvskoke Media Director and the Secretary for the Nation and Commerce.”
The new law ensures protection to all Mvskoke Media journalists and publications in the disclosure of journalistic sources and information related to the Nation including “written, oral, pictorial news or any digital or tangible record,” as NCA 19-031 states.
The legislation also affirms Mvskoke Media is not to be considered an official capacity of the Nation and the Official Seal of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation is not to be placed on any materials.
NCA 19-031 applies only to the Mvskoke News, Mvskoke Radio and Mvskoke Vision entities, as well as the administrative and IT staff within Mvskoke Media.
The provisions of NCA 19-031 exclude Mvskoke Media’s marketing, graphic design and printing division, Mvskoke Creative.
However, Principal Chief Floyd has assured that the Nation is looking at additional opportunities for Mvskoke Creative and anticipates set plans for the department will be known in the coming months.
“As far as the non-media side of Mvskoke Media, I anticipate within the next 60-90 days we will have something worked out,” Principal Chief Floyd said. “I don’t see anybody losing their job over the change in legislation. I think if anything, there are more opportunities. We’re just still looking at Mvskoke Creative as a whole and seeing how it can be allocated throughout the tribe as a department.”
As the new law affirms the three-member Mvskoke Media Editorial Board, it also requires the board to be in place by the May 1, 2019 deadline.
The duty of the editorial board will be to ensure the Mvskoke Media staff adhere to the Society of Professional Journalists standards with ethical consideration to the Nation’s customs and traditions.
Among the NCA 19-031 editorial board member qualifications, at least two of the three board members must be enrolled Muscogee (Creek) or citizens of another federally recognized tribe if qualified Muscogee (Creek) citizens are not available.
The three-member editorial board must include one member selected by the Principal Chief, one member selected by the National Council and the third member must be selected by the two members of the board. The board members must meet the qualifications to serve on the board, which requires one member to have a tribal law background, one member to have at least a bachelor’s degree in journalism or related field; while two of the three members also must have a journalism background with management, operations, editorial or reporting experience.
The full legislation is available online at: www.mcnnc.com/images/pdf2019/bills/NCA19-031.pdf.