Ban on WYPR re­porter an af­front to a free press

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND VOICES - Re­becca Sny­der, An­napo­lis The writer is ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the MDDC Press As­so­ci­a­tion.

Last week, Mayor Stephanie Rawl­ingsBlake barred WYPR re­porter P. Ken­neth Burns from all fu­ture brief­ings post-Board of Es­ti­mates meet­ings (“Let Ken­neth Burns in the room,” Oct. 16). The Mary­land-Delaware-DC (MDDC) Press As­so­ci­a­tion strongly con­demns Mayor Rawl­ings-Blake’s ac­tion.

The role of the press is crit­i­cal to a strong demo­cratic process. Bar­ring re­porters from events shows a will­ful dis­re­gard for in­form­ing Bal­ti­more ci­ti­zens about mat­ters of pub­lic pol­icy. Mayor Rawl­ings-Blake should not dis­miss a re­porter be­cause she doesn’t like the ques­tions be­ing asked; be­ing ques­tioned on mat­ters of pol­icy is part and par­cel of lead­ing the city.

Fur­ther, her al­le­ga­tions of con­sis­tently threat­en­ing and in­tim­i­dat­ing be­hav­ior are with­out merit, as Mr. Burns had not re­ceived any warn­ings or other in­di­ca­tion that his be­hav­ior dur­ing his long­time cov­er­age of city gov­ern­ment was not ap­pro­pri­ate. We re­spect­fully ask that the ban on Mr. Burns be lifted im­me­di­ately.

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