A small Illinois city ticketed a local reporter for asking why its infrastructure collapsed and flooded under heavy rainfall

William of England
By William of England 3 Min Read

The tickets from Calumet City, a city of 35,000 situated 24 miles (39 kilometers) south of Chicago, allege “interference/hampering of city employees” by Hank Sanders, a reporter for the Daily Southtown, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.

It’s the most recent of a number of current First Amendment dust-ups involving city officers and information retailers across the nation, following this week’s arrest of a small-town Alabama newspaper writer and reporter after reporting on a grand jury investigation of a faculty district, and the August police raid of a newspaper and its publisher’s home in Kansas tied to an obvious dispute a restaurant proprietor had with the paper.

Sanders reported in an Oct. 20 story that consultants advised Calumet City directors the city’s stormwater infrastructure was in poor situation earlier than flooding wrought by file September rains. Officials say Sanders continued to name and e mail city staff, drawing complaints together with from Mayor Thaddeus Jones, who can also be a Democratic state consultant.

The Tribune, which shares an proprietor with the Daily Southtown, reported that Sanders was advised to channel requests for data by means of Jones’ spokesperson, Sean Howard, however in keeping with one quotation despatched 14 emails to the city throughout a nine-day interval in October asking questions on flooding.

Mitch Pugh, govt editor of the Chicago Tribune, mentioned one cause Sanders continued asking questions was for a follow-up flooding story that has but to be revealed.

While the citations usually are not of “the same degree and magnitude” as the opposite current incidents, Pugh mentioned, “it seems to be on the same through line of a real lack of understanding of what the First Amendment protects, what a journalist’s job is, what our role is.”

“You get used to it a little bit on the national scale, but now we’re seeing it in very small municipalities with mayors, and that’s a disturbing trend and we need to call it out when we see it,” Pugh advised The Associated Press. “A public official ought to know better than to basically use a police force to try to intimidate a reporter who’s just doing his job.”

The information media’s freedom from authorities meddling or intervention is protected by the First Amendment.

Phone and textual content messages searching for remark had been left for Jones. Howard referred inquiries to city lawyer Patrick Walsh, saying it’s a authorized matter. A message was additionally left for Walsh.

Don Craven, president, CEO and common counsel of the Illinois Press Association, criticized the citations and mentioned the media play a basic position within the functioning of democracy.

“We’re talking about a reporter who is doing his job,” Craven mentioned, “and instead of saying ‘We’re working on the problem,’ the city’s response is, blame the reporter.”

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