OLD Media Moves

WSJ among media seeking lift of energy company CEO gag order

December 2, 2014

Posted by Chris Roush

massy-energyThe Wall Street Journal is one of five news organizations that filed a motion urging U.S. District Judge Irene Berger to withdraw a gag order that has blocked access to court records in a criminal case filed against Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

Kyla Asbury of The West Virginia Record writes, “The media outlets have asked Berger to reconsider her order, which also prohibits parties in the case, potential trial witnesses, and potentially families of the victims of the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster from talking to the media.

“‘A reporter’s First Amendment right to publish is meaningless if it is prevented from gathering news in the first instance,’ the motion states. ‘In this case, the court’s gag and sealing order prevents the news media intervenors and other members of the press and public from obtaining any meaningful information regarding this newsworthy case from court records and from those most knowledgeable about it, the participants and those affected by the underlying events.’

“The public interest in access is especially strong in the case at bar because such access promotes trustworthiness in the judicial process, better understanding of the judicial system, and ultimately, fairness, according to the motion.

“Blankenship is accused of conspiring to violate mine safety rules and hamper federal safety enforcement and lying to stock market regulators and to investors.

Read more here.

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