Press Club leaders condemn raid on Kansas newspaper by local law enforcement

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12, 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 reported raid of the Marion County Record offices on Friday and seizure of reporting materials by local law enforcement authorities executing a search warrant.

“We are shocked and outraged by this brazen violation of press freedom by authorities in Marion County, Kansas. Local law enforcement agencies reportedly searched the offices of the Marion County Record and the home of its publisher, and seized reporting materials including computers and cell phones, injuring a reporter’s finger in the process.

“We are deeply concerned that a Kansas judge issued a search warrant authorizing this search even though the federal law clearly requires authorities to use subpoenas rather than search warrants if they seek to access records of a news organization in the course of an investigation.

“A law enforcement raid of a newspaper office is deeply upsetting anywhere in the world. It is especially concerning in the United States, where we have strong and well-established legal protections guaranteeing the freedom of the press.

“This search violated the rights of the journalists at the Marion County Record to serve their community by gathering and reporting the news. We stand by the Marion County Record in its efforts to continue publishing despite the seizure of important reporting material and equipment. We demand local authorities return the reporting equipment to the Marion County Record immediately, and we expect a full investigation by appropriate state and federal authorities into why this search warrant was requested, authorized and executed.”

Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. The Club has 3,000 members representing nearly every major news organization and is a leading voice for press freedom in the U.S. and worldwide.

The National Press Club Journalism Institute promotes an engaged, global citizenry through an independent and free press and equips journalists with the skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire a more representative democracy. The NPCJI is the nonprofit affiliate of the National Press Club.

Contact: Bill McCarren, National Press Club, [email protected], (202) 662-7534

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SOURCE National Press Club

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