From Inside Tech Media

Reporters nationwide have faced a flurry of subpoenas in recent months, calling into question whether journalists can guarantee confidentiality to sources.  The repeated attempts to force journalists to reveal their confidential sources and other information about their newsgathering demonstrate the need for strong reporter “shield laws” on both the federal and state level.

Among some recent examples of attempts to force reporters to reveal information in federal court:

  • The lawyer for former Trenton, N.J. mayor Tony Mack, who is facing federal corruption charges, issued a subpoena to a reporter for the Trenton Times, to ask about the reporter’s interview of a co-defendant.
  • A military judge ordered CNN and CBS to release unaired interview footage as part of a Naval Academy midshipman’s court-martial on charges of aggravated sexual assault and false statements.
  • New York City’s lawyers subpoenaed a Village Voice reporter for recordings that he obtained as part of his investigation into New York Police Department’s manipulation of police reports.

These recent cases demonstrate that journalists face the constant threat of being forced to reveal confidential information in federal courts.

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