Kansas newspaper raid: A free press and our democracy are not guaranteed

WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 14, 2023 — In response to a court-sanctioned police raid on the Marion County Record newspaper, the News Literacy Project issued the following statement:

“The police raid of the Marion County Record newspaper office and home of its publisher is a threat to First Amendment press protections that should concern every American. The First Amendment provides protections for the press, and our country’s founders clearly intended for law enforcement intervention into the practice of journalism to be rare.

“According to a letter from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 34 other news and press freedom organizations, ‘there appears to be no justification for the breadth and intrusiveness of the search.’ “We will watch closely as more reporting becomes available, but this case provides a teachable moment regarding press freedoms and our Constitution.

“While the press freedoms that we often take for granted are protected by the First Amendment, they are not guaranteed. The level of press freedoms in the United States this year declined three places over the previous year, according to the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index. If we are to keep a free press, and with it, our democracy, we must actively support the right of journalists to do their work, and we must stand up when press protections are under attack.

“The News Literacy Project offers several free resources for educators, including a lesson in our Checkology® virtual classroom on the First Amendment, to teach young people about how the press serves as a check on government power and the important role it plays in a well-functioning democracy.

“We all must show the world that we continue to value press protections in the U.S. and the role journalism plays in holding those in power accountable. And we share our deepest condolences with the Meyer family on the death of the Marion County Record’s co-owner, Jane Meyer.”

About the News Literacy Project

The News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, provides programs and resources for educators and the public to teach, learn and share the abilities needed to be smart, active consumers of news and information and equal and engaged participants in a democracy.