Judge rules against Trump's global media chief after firings

Judge rules against Trump global media chief after firings

11/22/2020 2:11:00 AM

Judge rules against Trump global media chief after firings

A federal judge has ruled against the head of the agency that runs the Voice of America and other U.S.-funded news outlets.

Thelawsuitwas filed last month in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by five executives who had been fired or suspended. They accused Pack and his senior advisors of violating the statutory firewall intended to protect the news organizations from political interference.

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After the suit was filed, Pack announced he had rescinded the firewall rule issued by the Broadcasting Board of Governors. In a statement posted on his agency’s website, he said the rule wrongly prohibited him from directing broadcast operations and “made the agency difficult to manage.”

AdvertisementIn her ruling late Friday, Judge Beryl A. Howell imposed preliminary injunctions that prevent Pack from making personnel decisions about the agency’s journalists, directly communicating with them, or conducting any investigations into editorial content or individual journalists.

In July, Pack ordered an investigation into the posting of a video package featuring Joe Biden, now the president-elect, on a VOA website. He called the segment “pro-Biden” and said his staff was weighing disciplinary action against those responsible.

Fourteen senior VOA journalists sent a letter to management in Augustprotesting Pack’s actions,including the dismissal of foreign journalists and his comments denigrating VOA staff, which they said were endangering their colleagues and the international broadcaster’s credibility.

“The court confirmed that the First Amendment forbids Mr. Pack and his team from attempting to take control of these journalistic outlets, from investigating their journalists for purported ‘bias,’ and from attempting to influence or control their reporting content,” Lee Crain, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

AdvertisementThe global media agency did not immediately respond to a written request for comment on the ruling. Read more: Los Angeles Times »

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