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VI. Substantive law on contesting subpoenas

VI. Substantive law on contesting subpoenas

This section analyzes the substantive law that makes up the reporter's privilege and how a subpoenaing party can avoid the privilege protection.

VI. Substantive law on contesting subpoenas

Mississippi courts have held that journalists enjoy a "qualified privilege." The criteria necessary to overcome such a qualified privilege, and the burden of proof one must meet, is to show (1) that the testimony of the reporter is highly relevant to the seeking parties case; (2) there is a compelling need for the testimony sufficient to override the reporter's First Amendment privilege; and (3) the seeking party has unsuccessfully attempted to obtain the information possessed by the reporter from other sources. See Charles R. Pope v.

VI. Substantive law on contesting subpoenas

In civil cases, the Fifth Circuit has recognized a qualified privilege for reporters. Miller v. Transamerican Press, Inc., 621 F.2d 721, 723, as modified, 628 F.2d 932 (5th Cir. 1980); In re Selcraig, 705 F.2d 789, 792 (5th Cir. 1983). This privilege can be overcome only if the party seeking the information provides substantial evidence showing that the information is relevant, cannot be obtained by alternative means, and has a compelling interest in obtaining it. Miller, 621 F.2d at 726.