U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Pennsylvania man charged with threatening journalist

Incident Details

May 15, 2024

A man was charged on May 15, 2024, with harassment, disorderly conduct and making terroristic threats after allegedly threatening a journalist at the Times Leader, a newspaper that covers northeastern Pennsylvania.

A Times Leader reporter filed a complaint against Dallas Township resident John T. Premo on May 1, according to the paper, after Premo left a threatening message on the cellphone of the reporter’s wife. An affidavit by a county detective quoted the message: “Yo, if this is (name of victim redacted), you are a piece of sh–. You’re garbage, and you are going to f—ing die.”

Premo had emailed the newspaper in January to request removal of a 2021 article about his arrest for drunken driving and fleeing police because it was “now outdated, no longer relevant and causing financial harm to his family and business,” according to the Times Leader.

During a May 14 interview with investigators after the reporter’s complaint was filed, Premo said that he had paid someone $5,000 to remove the article from the Internet and referred to the reporter with profanity, the paper reported.

The Times Leader did not identify the reporter and did not respond to a request for comment from the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. Premo is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on May 28, according to court records.

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