Group calls on Kentucky State Police 'to rescind unconstitutional order'

Posted at 12:47 PM, Mar 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-12 12:47:40-04

A national professional organization for journalists is calling on the Kentucky State Police commissioner to rescind what it called "an unconstitutional order" that reportedly threatened to remove a newspaper and radio station from KSP's media distribution list. 

Authorities from Harland-based KSP Troop 10 sent an email on March 2 to the Mountain Advocate in Barbourville and WRIL in Pineville telling the journalists to wait for an official press release before reporting on KSP investigations, the Mountain Advocate reported. 

The email states, "you will be taken off our media distribution list" if the news outlets didn't comply. 

Radio Television Digital News Association announced Monday that it was calling on KSP Commissioner Richard Sanders to rescind the order. 

"Such an order is, on its face, in direct contravention of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. … Any time the efforts of journalists are restricted it is not those journalists who are the victims. Rather, it is the public – in this case the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, whom you are sworn to protect and serve – that becomes the victim because it is being denied information to which it is constitutionally entitled," RTDNA Executive Director Dan Shelley wrote in a letter to Sanders. 

KSP Capt. Ryan Catron told the Associated Press the email was to ensure accuracy and that police don’t plan to withhold information from either outlet.