In a statement released on Facebook this morning, the Asian American Journalists Association said it would decline an invitation to meet with the Department of Justice to discuss guidelines of how DOJ investigates reporters.
Paul Cheung, President of AAJA said in a statement:
“AAJA appreciates the invitation to meet with the U.S. Department of Justice on media policy. But we decided not to attend the meeting.
“AAJA advocates fair and accurate media coverage on behalf of our 1,700 members. An off-the-record conversation, however, would not allow us to inform our full membership. Nor would it promote transparency, which is key to building trust between the news industry, our government and the public.
“Should there be an on-the-record meeting to help shape media policy and diversity in the future, AAJA will gladly join the conversation.”
The meeting with several minority journalists organizations is scheduled for Monday. Unity: Journalists for Diversity and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists had previously announced they would attend that meeting.
Several news organizations this past week declined similar invitations including Reuters, CNN, The New York Times and the Associated Press. The organizations cited the off the record nature of the meeting as a reason for not accepting.
“We would welcome the opportunity to hear the attorney general’s explanation for the Department of Justice’s handling of subpoenas to journalists, and his thoughts about improving the protections afforded to media organizations in responding to government investigations, but believe firmly that his comments should be for publication,” Reuters spokeswoman Barb Burg said.
Reuters has reported that those that did attend the meeting said Attorney General Eric Holder pledged not to repeat investigation of journalists that raised concerns about the freedom of the press.
A firestorm was set off when the Washington Post reported last month the Department of Justice seized e-mails and phone records of a Fox News reporter and the phone records of the Associated Press as part of an investigation into government leaks.
Fox News reported in 2009 that North Korea would carry out additional nuclear tests or missile launches, which the U.S. government considered classified information.
Stephen Jin-woo Kim, a Korean American employee from Lawrence Livermore Labs, is accused of being the source of that leak and faces charges of violating the Espionage Act.