NEW YORK—In response to allegations of blackmail by National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, made by Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos and investigative journalist Ronan Farrow, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel issued the statement below: 

“For a professed media company to attempt to blackmail individual journalists and news outlets in order to suppress investigative reporting represents a gross perversion of a business that can no longer hold itself out as a legitimate publisher. Coming against the backdrop of credible reports of past coordination between President Donald Trump and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, these revelations assume a truly sinister cast. If indeed AMI’s threats and acts of intimidation toward the press were coordinated with the President or done at his request, it would represent an perilous escalation of the President’s war on the First Amendment and the role of a free press. Congress should act immediately to investigate these serious allegations.”

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PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. pen.org

CONTACT: Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager: agasparian@pen.org