Orders to US newspapers to delete archived stories raise censorship concerns

Censorship concerns were raised in Pennsylvania recently by court orders issued to several newspapers instructing that archived stories and other information about certain defendants be deleted.

The expungement orders, issued to Centre Daily Times and the Daily Collegian student newspaper at Penn State, have now been rescinded by a second central Pennsylvania judge, Thomas King Kistler.

According to the Centre Daily Times: “It’s common for attorneys to draw up legal documents such as expungement orders for judges to consider. Centre County judges usually sign 30 to 50 such orders at a time once or twice a week.”

These kind of court order are, however, “typically demanded of public agencies” and were “an unusual provision in this case”.

The Times reports that judges are investigating a total of 41 cases in which newspapers were named in expungement orders.

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