RTDNA and its Voice of the First Amendment Task Force today, along with more than a dozen professional journalism and free speech advocacy organizations are demanding an explanation from Attorney General Jeff Sessions following the Department of Justice's secret seizure of a reporter's phone and email records.
As RTDNA Executive Director Dan Shelley said when news of the DOJ record seizure broke, “It appears General Sessions and his Justice Department have declared open season on journalists in their attempts to stop leaks of sensitive information. Such witch hunts not only make it more difficult for journalists to do their jobs; more important, they deprive the public of information it has a right – and need – to know.”
In a letter sent to Sessions, RTDNA and partner press freedom groups remind the attorney general of the department's own guidance to "strike the proper balance between law enforcement and free press interests" and ask for an explanation of the extreme measures taken in this case. The letter lays out the concerns of press freedom advocates and invites Sessions to meet directly with the groups' representatives to address the questions outlined.
RTDNA formed the Voice of the First Amendment Task Force to defend against threats to the First Amendment and news media access, and to bridge the divide between responsible journalists and those who don’t like, or don’t understand, the news media. People wishing to support RTDNA’s efforts may reach out to the task force by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.