Charles Koch Institute Director of Free Expression Responds to Seizure of New York Times Reporter’s Email, Phone Records

June 15, 2018, Arlington, VA – Last week news broke the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) had seized New York Times reporter Ali Watkins’ email and phone records. Though a series of activities have forecast the possibility of such an action, this marks the first known instance under the current administration. In April, the administration removed “press freedom” references from its manual for federal prosecutors. While the DOJ left substantive guidance on how to gather evidence in place, these edits send a clear and disturbing signal. Sarah Ruger, director of free expression at the Charles Koch Institute, today responded:

“Though the Justice Department worked with the media to write new guidelines for how the DOJ should secure evidence from journalists after the 2013 Associated Press wiretapping scandal, actual execution of those guidelines depends on the goodwill and integrity of the individuals running the department. And goodwill is currently in short supply.

“April’s change to the prosecutors’ manual, along with the seizure of Watkins’ information, portends additional leak investigations. These inquiries will have a deep and lasting effect on the press. Legal protections are necessary, but not sufficient, for a robust press, free expression, and other essential elements of an open and flourishing society. It is necessary to hold those in power accountable.”

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Setting the Table for Discussion on How Tech Platforms Address Extremism

Media and technology firms are grappling to discover and refine the rules, tools, and standards that address substantive concerns about extreme content while allowing free expression to thrive. Communities Overcoming Extremism: the After Charlottesville Project is bringing together private sector leaders to talk about the questions and discoveries arising in different online communities.

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06-26-2019 10:55am

Open Letter to 2019 Poynter-Koch Media & Journalism Fellows

By creating a supportive community of young journalism professionals, the Poynter-Koch Media & Journalism Fellowship aims to magnify their influence on the profession at a time when the field offers incredible opportunities and unprecedented challenges.

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06-17-2019 05:45pm

How to Enrich Campus Speech and Protect Academic Autonomy

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