Are journalists raided because they're doing their jobs too well?

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Promoting press freedom in the 21st century

Journalist Tim Burke, wearing a baseball cap, sits in front of computers with blurred images

More than 50 organizations have demanded transparency over the FBI's May raid of journalist Tim Burke's home newsroom.

Courtesy of Tim Burke

The FBI raided Florida journalist Tim Burke’s home newsroom in May following publication of outtakes — which Burke says he obtained online through a publicly accessible URL — from Tucker Carlson’s interview with rapper and fashion superstar Ye, formerly known as Kanye West.

Following the raid, more than 50 press freedom organizations sent a letter to the Department of Justice demanding transparency about how the government believes Burke’s newsgathering broke federal computer hacking laws, and whether the DOJ followed the law and its own guidelines in authorizing the search on Burke’s home newsroom.

As Burke continues to fight for the return of his data and equipment, such as computers and hard drives, Freedom of the Press Foundation Deputy Director of Advocacy Caitlin Vogus spoke about the case and its connection to other recent press freedom threats on the National Press Club’s Update-1 podcast.

Vogus explained:

[T]his is a really important issue for journalists working around the country. They need to know, especially if they’re freelancers, that the DOJ is going to apply the Privacy Protection Act and its own policies when it comes to investigations of journalists. And they need to know whether what they are doing in their online investigations could be considered to violate federal law in the eyes of the government.”

Listen to the full episode here.

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