One incident in the recent work record of incoming Attorney General Stephen Six is reason for concern regarding Sixâ€™s respect for First Amendment rights and a free media. As a Douglas County District Court judge, he issued a broad search warrant last month meant to allow a University of Kansas police investigator to examine the online subscriber files of the Lawrence Journal-World. KU wanted to identify someone who had posted online comments about a story on the death of a KU student — the sort of information that the newspaper had twice provided, under subpoena, in other cases. The search did not occur (the newspaperâ€™s attorney got involved), but it should give Kansans pause that their next attorney general saw no problem in giving law enforcement a license to go fishing through the electronic files of a newspaper. As the Journal-World editorialized, â€œif the newspaper is forced to open its servers and files to police through warrants, it becomes an investigative arm for government law enforcement. Thatâ€™s hardly the proper role for a free and independent news media.â€
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