(WASHINGTON)—In response to Attorney General Merrick Garland’s statement on Wednesday that will ban the Justice Department from seizing journalists’ records, PEN America Washington Director Nadine Farid Johnson said:

“This welcome move by the Garland Justice Department is an important step in reversing decades-long threats to journalistic integrity and press freedom,” said Johnson, managing director of the Washington office and Free Expression programs. “Whether borne of concerns about national security or as a misuse of resources for political ends, the specter of criminal investigation casts a pall over the ability of journalists to carry out their roles of inquiry, research, and reporting to local, state, national, and international communities. It is now critical to ensure that this policy is interpreted broadly, to better protect journalists and further buttress the press freedom necessary to our democracy.”

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. Learn more at pen.org.

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