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  • Last modified 55 days ago (Feb. 28, 2024)

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Marion police listed among ‘worst censors’

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, a watchdog group based in Philadelphia that originally focused on free speech on campus, last week named Marion Police Department one of its “10 Worst Censors of 2024.”

“A police raid against a local newspaper,” the organization said in a news release, “sounds like a story out of Putin’s Russia — but it happened in the heart of Kansas.

“The Marion, Kansas, police, with the help of a magistrate judge and maybe even state-level officials, cobbled together a search warrant to invade the offices of the family-owned Marion County Record.

“Why? They didn’t like that the newspaper had dirt on a political ally — not to mention the paper’s investigations into allegations of misconduct by the police chief himself.

“They seized computers. They ripped a reporter’s cell phone out of her hand. They even rummaged around the home of the 98-year-old co-owner of the paper, ignoring her protests. The next day, following the shock of the raid, she passed away.

“That’s a tragedy. The raid was an assault on press freedom that would make our founders’ blood boil. And it should make your blood boil, too.

“No matter your views on the state of today’s press, when public officials attack just one newspaper’s freedom, they show their contempt for everyone’s freedom.

“Rightly, the Marion police chief resigned after leading this shameful attack on the First Amendment.

“FIRE will continue to stand up to government bullies who try to turn journalism into a crime.”

Last modified Feb. 28, 2024

 

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