(NEW YORK)— PEN America issued the following statement today in response to threats of retaliation against journalists by former Trump administration official Kash Patel:

 Shannon Jankowski, the interim Sy Syms director for U.S. Free Expression Programs, stated: “Kash Patel’s threats of retaliation against the media in the event of a second Trump administration are anathema to the First Amendment and to its protections for a free press and free expression. In 2018, PEN America filed a landmark First Amendment lawsuit against then-President Donald Trump, which challenged Trump’s use—and threatened use—of the powers of government to punish the speech of journalists. The type of censorship and retaliation threatened here by someone likely to play a role in any future Trump administration is no different and should be widely condemned. By informing the public on matters of local and national concern, journalists provide an essential check on government power.  PEN America was not afraid to sue the president in 2018 to protect journalists’ ability to carry out this vital work.  We will never back down against threats that undermine or chill the free press.”

About PEN America

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: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 201-247-5057