Stand By Your…Columnist

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Hartford Courant Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Andrew Julien is speaking out against recent public remarks by State Senator Saud Anwar accusing two columnists from the Courant and the Journal Inquirer of racial bias and personal ill will in their writing.

While discussing race relations and bias during a recent vigil in the wake of the murder of George Floyd,  Senator Anwar singled out the Courant’s political columnist, Kevin Rennie, and Journal Inquirer columnist and former editor Chris Powell for criticism.  While Rennie was not personally named, the Senator identified him by his South Windsor street address.  After alluding to the two columnists, the Senator called for silencing voices that are “nasty and hate-based.”  He has subsequently said that he was not referring to Rennie and Powell with his “silencing” remark.

While acknowledging the importance of examining the role of the media in its coverage of communities of color, Julien took issue with the personal nature of the Senator’s remarks and defended the importance of freedom of speech in our democracy:

“The shortcomings of the media as a whole in covering communities of color is a critical conversation, and we are engaging that conversation at the Courant — both internally and externally. And we are prepared to have that conversation with Senator Anwar.  But calling for voices to be silenced and revealing the home address of Courant contributor Kevin Rennie is a personal attack that undermines the principles of free speech and democracy any public official should be committed to uphold.”