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Angela

Confidential or criminal?

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Angela, you have no idea how glad I am that you are around here. :beer: :beer:

 

 

Iain...yes. And we often take some round about ways getting there. But the scenery along the way sure is interesting. :beer: :beer:

 

 

 

 

But really...what are the arguments for and against as you guys see it?

 

I am not comfortable with them as I have seen them so far presented in the news.

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for it? you have to if your gonna have people willing to speak out. if a journalist uncovers corruption or abuse or whatever how they got that info should be protected.

 

otherwise no one will say anything. ever.

 

and a whole lot of people will suffer privately.

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Nobody has complete confidentiality. Even Doctors, lawyers, and priests can legally be compelled to reveal confidential matters.

 

A broad sweeping protection of "journalists" and their sources would not be in the best interest of the public. A court order is a court order, violate it and suffer the consequences like anybody else.

 

Journalists have no motivation other that selling a story and/or advancing their agenda, which means sensationalism is a plus for them, hence I cannot convey any "noble" public service upon them. As far as corruption, they are as much a part of the problem as the direct participants.

 

Sure they can protect their sources. That is a tradition and is mos often supported. But under court order? Sorry, game over. If you want to stand your ground for some cause by violating such an order then bring your toothbrush, you're going to jail. It's that easy. You won't be tortured, you won't be sent to a work camp. You will just go to jail for contempt like anybody else.

agreed

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bs.  the point is there should be no court order in the first place.

The source and the wacked out reporter potentially endangered someones life. If I was that person I would want both their heads on a freaking platter. Not only was the revealation of this persons name a breach of national security it could have potentially ended with a body bag.

 

There SHOULD be a court order and I am glad that there is, one cannot go around spouting secrets and expect there to be no repurcussions.

 

Corruption is one thing, potential national security issues are another.

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Looks like I took my lunch at the right time... its a warzone in here, I'll get around to reading this once I find my swamp boots. :lol:

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Guest fragged one

oh stop, you know im right. and its not deep, just thick in here.

so deep that you'll need a rubber suit...

 

 

i think that confidential sources are one of the most important part of journalist's job of being our eyes on the government. as radical as it may sound, i don't think that any court should ever be able to compel any journalist to give a source under any circumstance.

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OK then. What constitutes a "journalist"?

 

 

 

Docors are licensed, Lawyers are members of the bar, Priests are ordained.

 

If I wish to blow the lid off something that I have inside information on in a pamphlet or newsletter, or even a web site by using "confidential sources" am I protected as a "journalist"?

 

If there is going to be some sort of regulation beyond the decision of a judge making an order from the bench, who regulates it and who is considered protected?

 

Journalism, like many things that are casually called a profession, isn't an actual profession. The federal and state governments actually provide specific legal definitions for what a profession is. There is no licensing board, no regulatory authority, no professional organization that they must belong to. It is very difficult to define who or what a journalist is in practical terms, it basically is simply a matter of self proclamation in fact.

 

 

In fact, if we enable some kind of formal right or protection, all I have to do is publish a pamphlet and distribute it and I could claim protection as a journalist, even if it is a pack of lies.

 

 

I think that leaving it to a judges decision on a case by case basis is best. There is plenty of precedence in these matters and it leaves confidentiality well intact I believe and for the most part only compromises it when necessary.

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i think that confidential sources are one of the most important part of journalist's job of being our eyes on the government. as radical as it may sound, i don't think that any court should ever be able to compel any journalist to give a source under any circumstance.

then we agree, as we normally do, well ok, about 50% of the time.

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It's real simple in this case. The name of an active CIA agent was made public. That would put that agents life in danger. That is a crime. Tatamount to treason!!

 

Anyone that discloses that name, and anyone that protects them is guilty of a crime. I think the reporters are going where they should be.

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I found some interesting material on the matter here:

 

http://www.cjog.net/

 

 

 

In surrendering a reporter's notes, Time Inc.'s top editor says the rule of law trumps the promise of confidentiality.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/printout...1079501,00.html

 

 

You can read the actual legislation before Congress here:

http://www.congress.org/congressorg/issues...=17&submit.y=11

 

http://www.congress.org/congressorg/webret...y/z?c109:S.340:

 

 

It's a bill that would create a reporter's privilege regarding compelled disclosure of sources and other newsgathering information. Such a privilege does not in fact exist except by custom. Legally, it is not a right or a privilege at this time. It is not covered by the First Amendment, the first Amendment rights have limitations.

 

Even under the proposed legislation the privilege is not absolute. A qualified privilege covers other materials. Subpoenaing parties can demand information from reporters if they show that they have unsuccessfully attempted to obtain the information "from all persons from which such testimony or document could reasonably be obtained." In addition, in criminal cases the information must be "essential to the investigation, prosecution, or defense," while in other cases, the information must be "essential to a dispositive issue of substantial importance" to the case.

 

Interestingly it additionally states that: "publication or dissemination of testimony or documents does not waive the requirements for compelled disclosure set forth in this Act." So the idea that Time has already supplied the notes etc would not be a get out of jail free pass even under the new legislation.

 

 

Clearly, the new legislation limis the privilege. It does so in a way that is very likely in keeping with current practice. One serious problem I have with it is this:

 

Prohibits Federal entities from compelling covered persons (specified media outlets or their employees) to testify or produce any document unless a court determines by clear and convincing evidence that:

Specified media outlets? Outrageous, simply outrageous. Who defines the "specified outlets" and how are they chosen?

 

(1) COVERED PERSON- The term `covered person' means--

 

(A) an entity that disseminates information by print, broadcast, cable, satellite, mechanical, photographic, electronic, or other means and that--

 

(i) publishes a newspaper, book, magazine, or other periodical;

 

(ii) operates a radio or television broadcast station (or network of such stations), cable system, or satellite carrier, or a channel or programming service for any such station, network, system, or carrier; or

 

(iii) operates a news agency or wire service;

 

(iv ) a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such an entity; or

 

(v ) an employee, contractor, or other person who gathers, edits, photographs, records, prepares, or disseminates news or information for such an entity.

I cannot support any legislation that is so poorly written as far as defining who it applies to. In addition, this leave a TREMENDOUS hole for abuse as the group is currently defined in the legislation.

 

 

 

It all falls back to my original question/assertion. What constitutes a journalist? Who is protected? This proposed legislation fails in properly addressing this absolutely vital questions, so the balance of it is moot in my eyes. It is a prime example of poorly written legislation.

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