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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 1:08 pm

WPTA-TV appeals order blocking broadcast of audio from sentencing hearing

The Journal Gazette

WPTA-TV, Channel 21, said today it had appealed a Huntington Circuit Court judge's ruling that blocks the station from broadcasting an audio recording from a sentencing hearing.

The audio was made by the court during the sentencing of Dr. John Mathew, who was sentenced to two years of house arrest after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual battery.

In a statement, the station said it "believes the order to be an unjustified matter of prior restraint, violating the State of Indiana's laws that promote transparency and support freedom of the press."

Merry Ewing, the station's vice president and general manager, said in the statement: "We hope this case sets a precedent for reporters across the state, to ensure they have access to court recordings and are able to broadcast them. We should always be concerned when freedom of the press rights are restricted."