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Reporters Committee letter alerts court to possible consent decree violation

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  1. First Amendment

In a May 4 letter on behalf of MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a Reporters Committee attorney alerted the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee that the city of Memphis may have violated a local consent decree meant to protect constitutional rights.

The letter specifically addresses the city’s repeated refusal to add the nonprofit news outlet’s editor to a list of media email contacts used to inform members of the media about city events and actions.

Reporters Committee Local Legal Initiative Staff Attorney Paul McAdoo submitted the letter to the court through the independent monitor in charge of overseeing compliance with the 1978 Kendrick Consent Decree. That order prohibits the city from interfering with any person’s First Amendment rights.

The letter argues that the city appears to be retaliating against MLK50: Justice Through Journalism for its coverage. The comments follow letters the Reporters Committee sent to the city of Memphis in March and April arguing that its refusal to add MLK50: Justice Through Journalism to its media advisory list violated the news outlet’s rights under the First Amendment, Tennessee Constitution, and the Kendrick Consent Decree.

Read the full letter.