NewsGuild of New York's Statement on Department of Justice’s Decision to Seize Times’ Reporter Records


Yesterday the Department of Justice seized phone and email records of New York Times reporter Ali Watkins. These actions represent a deeply troubling violation of the First Amendment and of the essential role of the Fourth Estate: to question the levers of power, interrogate authority, and seek answers on behalf of the public.

The heightened pursuit of “leakers” under the previous administration was the first step in a disturbing trend of governmental incursion of the press. The decision by the DOJ to target a reporter’s private communications, seemingly without regard for its own rules to make “all reasonable attempts to obtain the information from alternative, non-media sources,” represents increasing interference and potential censorship of the press.

The NewsGuild of New York has worked tirelessly over 80 years to provide journalists with a voice in their newsrooms. We have long demanded that employers create safeguards for their journalists against attempts to influence their reporting. We must demand no less from our own government.

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