Reporters, Sources and Confidentiality

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Weeks after Judith Miller got out of prison, the argument over confidential news sources continues on Capitol Hill. Such sources provide reporters with information only if they're promised they won't be identified. Though in 1972 the US Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment does not protect anonymity in federal cases, prosecutors have been reluctant to pursue reporters unless there's no other way to obtain information they need. Now, prosecutors and judges all over the country are demanding that reporters break their promises to anonymous sources, and Congress is considering a new law to protect "the free flow of information" in federal courts. Opponents say that will encourage news stories that libel the innocent or create national security risks. Why do sources demand anonymity? What will be lost if they have to come out of the closet? Who should decide what the public has a right to know?
  • Making News: Mayor's Commission Announces New Orleans' Rebuilding Plan
    Residents of New Orleans will have four months to either prove they can bring their neighborhoods back to life or sell their property. That's according to the Bring New Orleans Back Commission, which reported today to Mayor Ray Nagin. The Times Picayune's David Shea, whose own house was partially destroyed by Katrina, says a significant part of the plan will go to home buy-outs.
  • Reporter's Notebook: Guant--namo War Crimes Tribunals Resume
    Despite concerns about fair trials, two military tribunals got under way on this fourth anniversary of Guant--namo Bay. Meantime, the human rights group Amnesty International says ill-treatment and torture are continuing there. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says when she visits Washington on Friday she'll tell President Bush that "different ways" should be found to deal with prisoners. Mary Ellen O'Connell is Professor of International Law at Notre Dame.
Espionage Act of 1917
  • The Privacy Act of 1974
  • New York Times on President Bush's approval of warrantless domestic surveillance
  • S 1419: The Free Flow of Information Act
  • Pew Survey on public---s attitude toward the press
  • Pennsylvania's Shield Law

  • Mayor's Commission's Master Plan to "Bring New Orleans Back"

    Louisiana Recovery Corporation Act ("Baker Bill," HR 4100)

    Holzer's article, ---Indict the New York Times'

    Amnesty International (AI) on Guant--namo detainees, new torture testimonies

    Senator McCain on torture amendment



    Warren Olney