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A federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware yesterday denied a motion by Bloomberg News, without oral argument, to suspend an overreaching investigation into contacts between its reporters and the parties in a bankruptcy proceeding.
The court’s sweeping order demanded all parties reveal knowledge of any contacts with Bloomberg reporters over the previous 60 days, which could affect contacts unrelated to the three stories the court identified as containing certain information covered by a protective order.
Bloomberg immediately appealed to the federal district court, but the district court declined to act yesterday.
The bankruptcy judge’s order that 123 individuals associated with the debtors and creditors in the case file sealed declarations about contacts with Bloomberg remained in effect, and the court docket indicates that many declarations were filed under seal yesterday. The order demands the individuals reveal not just their own contacts, but any contacts by others of which they are aware.
Both the bankruptcy court and the district court have scheduled hearings for today.
The Reporters Committee, joined by The Associated Press, First Look Media, Inc., Gannett Co., Inc., The McClatchy Company, National Public Radio, Inc., Tribune Publishing Company and The Washington Post, filed an amicus letter late last week urging the court to rein in its investigation. The media coalition is concerned that the bankruptcy court is not only conducting an investigation into news sources, but that its order sweeps too wide by demanding to know all contacts with Bloomberg reporters.