By Nick TothFebruary 27, 2020 7:17:11Alaska’s media regulator is warning that the state’s top news organization could be forced to cease operations if it does not comply with an order to cease publishing on social media.
The State Press Board issued the letter to Alaska Public Media Corp. on Tuesday, saying it has received a “credible threat of an imminent loss of freedom of the press” if the company does not immediately cease publishing the company’s online and print news.
The letter, which was obtained by the Anchorage Daily News, cites a federal order that the company must “stop all publication of any content, including, but not limited to, content which may be misleading, defamatory, inaccurate, deceptive, libelous, or otherwise offensive.”
The letter was addressed to Alaskan Public Media’s Chief Executive Officer, Scott Pardee.
It does not address whether or not the board will issue a formal complaint to the Department of Justice.
Alaska Public Media has operated under a state-funded contract with the state since 2015.
The company has not yet said how many people work at its Anchorage headquarters.
Pardee was appointed to the position by Governor Bill Walker last year and has been at the helm since 2016.
In a statement to ABC News on Tuesday morning, Pardees chief of staff, Jeff Fong, said PardEE has been providing news coverage to the state for more than a decade.
Fong said that PardEEE’s media coverage has “provided vital, reliable, independent, and important coverage for our community, its residents and businesses, and has made Alaskans proud and proud to be Alaska citizens.”
“We have a strong and growing media presence, and we are confident that Alaska’s media industry will continue to provide news coverage of public affairs that the people of Alaska value,” Fong said.
“We are not asking for the press to stop.
We are asking that the media stop.
If Alaskas media is not operating, Alaskalans will be without their critical reporting and critical reporting of the state.”
Alaska public radio station KUOW reported that the letter from the regulator was signed by board chair Susan Cairns.
KUO’s news director, Mark Gann, tweeted Tuesday that he received the letter and called it “a strong message” to the media.
“I hope this sends a strong message that the public is not interested in this,” Gann tweeted.
“This is the first time we’ve heard that the board has acted on the letter, and that’s what the board is concerned about.
This is just another sign that the press has to step up.”
PardEE, which has about 3,000 employees and employs more than 300,000 people, does not have to register with the FCC to operate.
It is one of the few news organizations that has a contract with Alaska Public Radio.
The state’s board said it was also concerned that PARDEE is not providing accurate information about the Alaska National Guard.
PARDEEE is owned by the state, which is the agency’s parent agency.