Reporter, public removed from Illinois city council meeting

September 13, 2021
Erica Chiang, editor-in-chief for The Southland Journal, was told to stop filming and ordered to leave a city council meeting in Country Club Hills, Illinois, on Sept. 13, 2021.Chiang told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker she covered the city council meeting without incident until the public comments portion of the meeting. In an account for the Journal, Chiang wrote that when an alderman attempted to respond to an attendee’s comment, Mayor James Ford interrupted.“That caused the crowd to get a …

City of Jackson, Mississippi, ordered to pay legal fees to broadcast station for violating public records law

August 6, 2021
The city of Jackson, Mississippi, was ordered to pay more than $170,000 in legal fees to local broadcaster WLBT’s parent company, Gray Television, on Aug. 6, 2021, after it was determined that the city violated the state’s public records law.WLBT reported that in 2019 the station’s chief investigative reporter, C.J. LeMaster, sent the Jackson Police Department seven requests for public records including emails, memos and crime statistics; the department never produced documents for five of the requests and waited nearly …

Journalist at advocacy news organization dragged from press conference

August 5, 2021
Grant Stern, executive editor of the news arm of the progressive political organization Occupy Democrats, said he was forcefully removed from a press conference at the Hialeah Gardens Museum in Hialeah Gardens, Florida, on Aug. 5, 2021.Stern told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker he was alerted to a press conference with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republican lawmakers via email from the governor’s press office. The email noted that the press conference was open …

Media prevented from reporting on Texas execution for first time for decades

May 19, 2021
For the first time in decades the Texas Department of Criminal Justice failed to let journalists cover an execution, even though two reporters had been cleared to do so and were waiting nearby to be called into the state penitentiary in Huntsville on May 19, 2021.A database maintained by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice confirmed that there had been media in attendance at each of the state’s previous 570 executions. Prison officials said “miscommunication” had kept media from witnessing …

Judge orders New Mexico public school district to pay news outlets for violating state public records act

April 19, 2021
On April 19, 2021, a Bernalillo County judge ruled that Albuquerque Public Schools violated New Mexico’s Inspection of Public Records Act when handling requests for documents made by two media outlets. The judge ordered the school district to pay the news organizations more than $400,000.The Albuquerque Journal and local NBC-affiliate KOB 4 had jointly sued the school district, alleging that it failed to meet deadlines in turning over public documents that the news outlets had requested in 2014. The documents …

Tennessee reporter told to leave, threatened with arrest at a town hall meeting with Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene

January 27, 2021
A Tennessee-based journalists from Chattanooga’s WRCBtv was told to leave and threatened with arrest after trying to ask a question at a town hall meeting with U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Jan. 27, 2021.WRCB reporter Meredith Aldis was among a group of journalists invited to Greene’s town hall in Whitfield County, Georgia, about 30 miles southeast of Chattanooga. Upon arrival at the event, journalists were told they could not ask questions or speak to anyone in attendance, WRCB News …
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