Friday, April 29, 2005

Shielding Free Speech

A bill letting reporters protect their sources gets a Congressional Hearing next month. There's been a rash of cases where prosecuters and police seek to rely on forcing reporters to give up sources so they can further their investigations. Lawmakers wanting to protect journalists warn that whistleblowers won't come forward to reporters if they know they could be prosecuted or persecuted by having their names divulged to law enforcement.

Among some of the cases:

  • Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matthew Cooper of TIME magazine have refused to tell a grand jury who leaked the name of a CIA agent to them.
  • Five reporters appealing contempt charges for refusing to reveal sources for stories about nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee
  • TV reporter Jim Taricani of Providence, Rhode Island sentenced to house arrest for refusing to tell who gave him an FBI tape of an undercover investigation

The Free Speech Protection Act of 2005 (S. 369) -- has bipartisan support. (Boston Globe)

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