Indiana Station Files Appeal Against Decision To Restrict Court Audio From Airing

By Stephanie Tsoflias Siegel 

WPTA isn’t backing down on it’s request to air an audio recording of the sentencing phase of a local doctor who pleaded guilty to two felony sex crime counts.

Last month, a local judge prohibited the ABC-affiliate in Fort Wayne, Indiana, from airing the audio that was legally obtained. If the order was violated the station would be “subject to the contempt of court” according to a release.

WPTA filed a motion to reconsider but the judge denied the request without a hearing. The judge cited Indiana Judicial Conduct Rule 2/17 – which regulates third-party recording of court proceedings – in his denial.

The station is now filing an appellate brief with the Court of Appeals of Indiana to remove the court order.

“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,” WPTA vice president and general manager, Merry Ewing said. “We should always be concerned when freedom of the press rights are restricted.”

Station management told TVSpy that they planned to air the audio because Dr. John Mathew’s sentence of two years house arrest prompted push back from the community.