AAJA opposes GPD's search of KUAM - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

AAJA opposes GPD's search of KUAM

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by Jason Salas

Guam - The groundswell of support recognizing the importance of freedom of the press and freedom of free speech continues to surge worldwide, as word of the Guam Police Department's search of the KUAM Studios spreads like wildfire throughout the global journalism community.  The latest high-profile organization to stand against violations of these Constitutional rights: the Asian American Journalists Association.

More than 1,200 members strong, the AAJA states that it is "distressed by reports that all KUAM employees were asked to leave the building during the search and that police would not let KUAM videotape the search", in reference to the search warrant executed at the Harmon studios this past Wednesday.  Operations were halted for about a half-hour while police looked for, and ultimately confiscated, a document cited in a KUAM News report relative to an internal investigation at GPD.

"AAJA believes the police department ignored and acted in disregard of The Privacy Protection Act of 1980. This federal act prohibits federal, state, and local law enforcement from conducting searches and seizures of work product and materials from reporters, broadcasters and newsrooms except in very limited and specific circumstances."  AAJA national president Sharon Chan lent her support for KUAM's lawsuit against GPD and the Government of Guam, writing, "Journalists can serve the public when they are free to operate without government interference or intimidation. That's what the First and Fourth Amendment rights were written to protect. We stand with other media organizations, including the Radio Television Digital News Association, and ask the search warrant be quashed and the seized materials returned."

Yesterday RTDNA issued a statement of its own, condemning the police department's newsroom search.

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