Should Reporters be Forced to Reveal 'Confidential' Sources?

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In recent weeks, there's been much debate about news stories that revealed secret strategies in the war on terror. The issue of confidential sources is just as timely as it was in January, when we first broadcast this program. Confidential sources provide reporters with information only if they're promised they won't be identified. But in 1972, the US Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment does not protect the reporter's promise of anonymity in federal cases. For the past 30 years, prosecutors have been reluctant to pursue reporters unless there's no other way to obtain information they need. Now, that appears to be changing. 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? (This segment was originally broadcast January 11 on To the Point.)
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National Archives

Schwartzman's article on efforts to dry out the National Archives

The Privacy Act of 1974

New York Times on President Bush's approval of warrantless domestic surveillance

Free Flow of Information Act (S 1419)

Pew Survey on public's attitude toward the press

Pennsylvania's Shield Law

Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002

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



Warren Olney