(New York, NY) – Editors at The Harvard Crimson made the right call asking Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for a comment about an immigration rally, PEN America said today. Earlier this week, critics of the student newspaper launched an online petition condemning the paper’s decision to request comment from ICE regarding a student demonstration in September. That prompted The Crimson to publish a statement  October 22 defending their editorial standards and decisions.

“We commend The Harvard Crimson for standing firm against calls for the paper to abandon its journalistic responsibilities,” said Nora Benavidez, director of U.S. Free Expression Programs at PEN America. “In offering ICE the opportunity to comment for an article about a protest against the agency, The Crimson was practicing good journalism. Full stop. To call for a news outlet to ignore its professional responsibilities is to misunderstand the role of a free press in a democracy. It is not only the right and duty of reporters to contact people relevant to a story; it is fundamental to their role in holding all actors to account. At a moment when truth is under attack from leaders and bad actors across the globe, responsible, unbiased reporting is more critical than ever. We stand by The Crimson and their commitment of professional, fact-based journalism.”

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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.

CONTACT: Stephen Fee, Director of Communications, sfee@pen.org, +1 202 309 8892