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VA officials seize reporter’s audio recording

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Mark Segraves of WTOP-FM reports that the memory card from reporter David Schultz’ audio recorder was confiscated by a communications specialist with the US Department of Veterans Affairs while he was interviewing a veteran about “the poor treatment he was receiving at the hands of the V.A.”

Schultz, who is with public radio station WAMU, was covering a public event at the V.A. hospital in Washington, D.C., when the incident happened. Segraves reports that four armed security guards and two other V.A. employees were also involved.

Barbara Cochran, president of RTNDA, comments on the incident:

“The government may not lawfully seize audio or videotape at a scene of news gathering,” she says. “It’s a form of prior restraint.”

Schultz was trying to talk to a veteran with a terminal illness who says he is receiving less-than-adequate care.

Update

Federal agency still holds reporter’s equipment