The Asian American Journalists Association opposes the Guam Police Department’s recent search of KUAM News offices in Guam. AAJA 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.
Guam police obtained a search warrant and searched the television news offices on May 12, looking for a document used in a KUAM News investigative report.
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.
“We support KUAM TV’s lawsuit against the police department,” said Sharon Chan, national president of AAJA. “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.”
The Asian American Journalists Association is a non-profit professional and educational organization with approximately 1,200 members across the United States and in Asia. Founded in 1981, AAJA has been at the forefront of change in the journalism industry. AAJA’s mission is to encourage Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to enter the ranks of journalism, to work for fair and accurate coverage of AAPIs, and to increase the number of AAPI journalists and news managers in the industry. AAJA is an alliance partner in UNITY Journalists of Color, along with the Native American Journalists Association, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and National Association of Black Journalists. For more information, visit www.aaja.org.