On Monday, Peach Pundit contributor George Chidi posted this piece on Tom Owens, a candidate for DeKalb County’s Commission. It’s detailed. It’s thorough. It’s tough but it’s fair. It’s the work of a professional journalist.
Mr. Owens’ response was to accuse George Chidi of stalking him. He sought and received a temporary protective order from a DeKalb County Magistrate Judge ordering George not to contact Mr. Owens or come within 100 feet of him.
Mr. Chidi has only contacted Mr. Owens at public events and via calls/text messages. As the tough but fair professional that he is, he wanted to give Mr. Owens every opportunity to get his side of the story on the record as part of George’s piece.
Instead, Mr. Owens has sought not only to chill the efforts of a journalist trying to investigate and inform about the history of a public figure, but has had Mr. Chidi receive a notice from the court that he has violated the TPO by writing about receiving the TPO on his own blog and Facebook.
This, in any reasonable assessment, is unconscionable.
Nine years ago, PeachPundit was launched as a site for discussing Georgia politics. Today we operate as an established news organization. Our editors are routinely offered press credentials to political events at the State and National level. Because of sites like PeachPundit, traditional media outlets have embraced and extended the blog format, recognizing that good journalism takes many different forms.
Mr. Chidi is a published freelance reporter with contributions to publications such as The Guardian, The AJC, and Inc. Magazine. Although PeachPundit is considered by some to be ‘right leaning’, Mr. Chidi, has among the many items on his resume that he was an Occupy Atlanta Organizer. Claiming that the ‘blog’ format is not journalism is disingenuous. Dismissing Mr. Chidi’s professional journalism credentials as both a freelancer and contributor to this site is unacceptable.
Those of us at Peach Pundit come from diverse backgrounds and ideologies, but share in common the spirt of learning and reporting the truth, wherever that journey leads us.
Despite our varied political differences, we as the Publisher and Editors of Peach Pundit fully support George Chidi, journalist, and his right to report without the blatantly unconstitutional interference from the DeKalb County Magistrate’s court. We stand behind George, and will fight to ensure that he continues to be able to report the truth, even when others wish to abuse the legal system as part of a pattern of intimidation.