U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Ohio political reporter removed from Democratic Party mailing list, reinstated by chair

Incident Details

Date of Incident
March 2019
Cleveland, Ohio

Denial of Access

Government agency or public official involved
March 5, 2019

Cleveland political reporter Seth Richardson was removed from the Ohio Democratic Party press release mailing list by staff in March 2019.

Richardson posted a thread on Twitter that he had apparently been “frozen out” from covering the Ohio Democratic Party, and suggested he may have been removed from the press distribution list in response to his reporting.

Richardson, who reports for Cleveland.com, noted that not receiving the press releases made it difficult for him to do his job.

Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper responded to Richardson on Twitter, and told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that he was not aware of the problem until he saw the tweets. Pepper confirmed that Richardson was added back to the press release list immediately.

“Any suggestion that I requested a reporter be removed from an email list because of a story, general coverage or any other reason is false,” he said.

“We pride ourselves on not only being open to the press, but in supporting the freedom of the press at all levels,” Pepper wrote to the Tracker. “This was a poor decision made at a staff level that I immediately reversed when it came to my attention."

Pepper said that while there is not a written policy for removing reporters from the distribution, he said that practically, “we do not remove people from our press list,” and would never ask anyone to be removed. Pepper emphasized that the Ohio Democratic Party welcomes press coverage.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].