U.S. Judge Beryl Howell found that Pack’s actions likely “violated and continue to violate [journalists’] First Amendment rights because, among other unconstitutional effects, they result in self-censorship and the chilling of First Amendment expression.”
“These current and unanticipated harms are sufficient to demonstrate irreparable harm,” Howell, an appointee of President Obama, added in her opinion.
Howell ordered Pack to stop any interference in VOA’s news coverage and editorial personnel matters.
Since Pack was confirmed in June, he’s fired and suspended multiple top executives, reassigned VOA’s top standards executive and investigated journalists for stories about the presidential campaign, NPR noted.
Specifically, VOA White House bureau chief Steve Herman was investigated over his social media activity, including tweets he “liked,” and two stories about the president.