WASHINGTON, April 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Following is a statement from Eileen O’Reilly, president of the National Press Club, and Gil Klein, president of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, on the publication of an audio recording in which local officials in McCurtain County, Oklahoma, made statements threatening journalists and Black people. In the recording published in full this week by the McCurtain Gazette-News, local officials are heard complaining about two journalists, discussing hit men, and where two holes are dug. One official is also heard on the recording making a threat of violence against Black people.
“Threats of violence against journalists have no place in the United States, or anywhere. We are shocked and appalled by the threats against journalists made by local officials in McCurtain County, Oklahoma in an audio recording published this week by the McCurtain Gazette-News. We condemn these threats in the strongest possible terms. We are also concerned by statements made by those same officials threatening to file charges against the journalists for the making of the recording. We also condemn the threats against Black people made in the same recording by a local official.
“Threats of violence by government officials against the journalists who report on them have no place in the United States. It is essential that those who issue such violent threats are held accountable. We appreciate Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s leadership in condemning these threats and urging the resignation of the local officials involved. We are also grateful that federal and state authorities are reportedly investigating this situation. We look forward to seeing this matter fully and swiftly investigated, and for any officials who made violent threats to be fully held accountable.”
Contact: Bill McCarren, 202-662-7534 for the National Press Club
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SOURCE National Press Club