INDIANAPOLIS — A lawsuit filed last month by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of an Indianapolis-based journalist who was prohibited from attending one of Attorney General Todd Rokita's press conferences has been dismissed.
The lawsuit stated Abdul-Hakim Shabazz was denied entry to Rokita’s news conferences beginning in October 2021, despite having an official media credential, and due to that Rokita violated the First Amendment.
Shabazz is the editor and publisher of Indy Politics, the host of “Abdul at Large” on WIBC and the host of Indiana Issues, a statewide radio public affairs program. He has also appeared on WRTV’s Political Insiders segments.
In the court document filed Monday, both parties agreed that Shabazz is not barred from Rokita's future in-person press conferences "and will be allowed admission consistent with terms and conditions utilized for other press or media."
"I am very pleased with the outcome. All I wanted was access and now I have it," Shabazz said in a statement to WRTV. "This was not just a victory for me, but for every reporter and journalist in the state of Indiana. Now if someone wants to keep me out of their news conferences, they will have to try kryptonite."
Kelly Stevenson, press secretary for Rokita's office, released the following statement:
“We are pleased to have secured a swift dismissal of the action, which saves taxpayer dollars and allows us to focus more on protecting Hoosier values from the attacks that are coming on the heels of the General Assembly session that just concluded. There is no automatic right to attend press events in person just because someone possesses a security badge, especially when the event is accessible to everyone—in real time—with the ability to pose questions. Our office remains a leader for access, transparency, and engagement with the great people of Indiana. Stay tuned for future action from the office on these efforts.”