Press freedom advocates troubled by suit against Iowa paper

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — The former administrator of Iowa’s third-largest city is suing the area’s biggest newspaper, claiming that its coverage was unfair and cost him his job.

Former Davenport city administrator Craig Malin’s lawsuit against the Quad-City Times is set to go to trial Monday. He argues that the paper published false stories and opinion pieces about his official actions, forcing him out after 14 years with the city.

The trial will not be a traditional libel case because a judge has ruled Malin did not meet the high bar for proving the newspaper defamed him.

Instead, the case will be about whether the paper improperly interfered with Malin’s employment contract.

The newspaper’s reporting on Davenport’s handling of financial negotiations for a new casino prompted the mayor to call for Malin’s termination.

The newspaper has defended its coverage as accurate watchdog journalism protected by the First Amendment.

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