We presume many Laurel readers have been keeping track of the story of the Marion County Record. The local paper in Kansas was the subject of a police raid two weeks ago after an influential citizen complained to police about sourcing for an upcoming story.
The police search and seizure of a news organization – in this country(the USA) – is highly unusual, but not surprising given recent trends.
Anyone who has covered news in recent years, especially with camera or microphone in hand, has probably noticed increased paranoia from citizens and people in authority when it relates to interaction with the news media.
Often security is cited as a reason to interfere with the working press. A lack of understanding of media rights in public spaces is sometimes at the center of controversy. Sometimes – as appears to be the case in the matter of the Marion County Record – there is a lack of knowledge on behalf of law enforcement about the First Amendment and the role of the press in our democracy(Again, the democracy we have in the USA).
On top of it all, leading candidates for public office, particularly on the Republican side, have made bashing the news media a staple of their stump speeches and political personas. All this inevitably has a trickle down effect.
New – The Reasoning Behind the Search – Washington Post