Everything online journalists need to protect their legal rights. This free resource culls from all Reporters Committee resources and includes exclusive content on digital media law issues.
The media law experts at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press are available for comment and analysis on breaking news stories involving issues such as content regulation, freedom of information, libel, newsgathering, prior restraints, privacy, reporter’s privilege (protecting confidential sources) and secret courts.
To schedule an interview with Executive Director Bruce D. Brown, Legal Defense Director Gregg P. Leslie or FOI Director Mark R. Caramanica, call 703-807-2100. You also can email them directly at bbrown, gleslie or mcaramanica via @rcfp.org.
Below are news clips featuring Reporters Committee staff and resources.
Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce D. Brown and former Google exec Alan B. Davidson noted in a Jan. 4, 2013 New York Times op-ed on the FTC Google decision:
"The theories that many critics advanced — that search must be “neutral” because it is akin to a public utility, or that computer-generated search results are not speech and therefore not protected under the First Amendment — would have undermined free press principles across the Internet. That the F.T.C. decision permits Google to continue to use its judgment in analyzing search requests and presenting pertinent results is a victory for online expression and is consistent with First Amendment law since the 1940s."
("Is Google Like Gas or Steel?" by Bruce D. Brown and Alan B. Davidson, The New York Times, Jan. 4, 2013).
|Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce Brown is interviewed March 4, 2012 by Furman University President Rod Smolla for the segment, "Pivitol Elements: Journalism, Education and the 'New Media' " on the university's YouTube channel. Watch the interview here.|
ProPublica published an explaination of the renewed efforts in Washington to go after the source of information leaks through Senate legislation and Justice Department investigations. Discussing the Senate bill specifically, ProPublica reported:
Gregg Leslie, the interim director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, says that the restrictions would hamper reporting on sensitive issues, but not because they stem leaks. “It’s not all about getting a scoop on some hot story, it’s about getting the facts straight,” he said. “You need to be able to bounce your ideas, your theories, your tips from a million sources, off of someone in the government who knows what’s right.” The Reporters Committee supports other media groups who filed a memo opposing the bill.
("Washington's war on leaks, explained," by Cora Currier, ProPublica, Aug. 2, 2012)
The New York Times reported on the "distinct chill over press coverage of national security issues" as Washington lawmakers stepped up their efforts to stop leaks through legislation and prosecution. Agencies have responded by holding fewer or no briefings or press interviews. Noting the increased caution with which reporters must approach sources now, the Times explained:
Gregg Leslie, the interim executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, an advocacy group, said the effect of the current investigation comes on top of a growing awareness by journalists in the last two years that the government often tracks employees’ e-mail and telephone contacts.
“Reporters are beginning to resort to the old practice of meeting on a park bench to avoid leaving an electronic trail,” he said.
("Inquiry into security leaks is casting chill over coverage," by Scott Shane, The New York Times, Aug. 1, 2012)
Smartphones and tablets make it easier than ever for journalists to stay in touch with newsrooms while out in the field. These devices also serve as great research and recording tools. To help journalists take full advantage of these tools, we’ve put together a list of five apps that can help with researching and reporting.
("5 Apps For Journalists," by Dianna Dilworth, AppNewser, July 24, 2012)
Limiting FOIA requests to state residents hampers investigative journalism and frustrates the free flow of information generally, said Reporters Committee FOI Director Mark Caramanica during an interview with Brooke Gladstone for NPR's "On the Media." Listen online. ("New Limitations to Freedom of Information Act Requests," interview by Brooke Gladstone, On the Media, National Public Radio, May 3, 2013)
Reporters Committee Legal Defense Director Gregg Leslie appeared on the Today Show May 14, 2013 to discuss the Justice Department's intrusion into the phone records of AP journalists. Watch the clip online.
|Legal Defense Director Gregg Leslie was interviewed by RT America on Sept. 25, 2012 about the Reporters Committee's friend-of-the-court brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to allow journalists to challenge federal wiretap laws. Watch online here.|
|Usealing court documents in a case involving the mayor of Washington, D.C., was discussed by Reporters Committee Legal Defense Director Gregg Leslie during an interview May 3, 2013 on NewsChannel 8 program NewsTalk with Brian DePuyt. Watch the clip here.|
Reporting by The Associated Press about a judge's decision to seal the university records of the suspect in the Aurora, Colo., mass shootings noted:
Mark Caramanica, freedom-of-information director at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Arlington, Va., called the order “highly unorthodox.” He said it was unusual that a public institution would consult with an outside entity instead of just following the law and answering the request. “It seems very premature for a court to get involved and make such a sweeping order,” Caramanica said. “It seems like a very broad and overly aggressive approach.”
("Colorado judge bans release of theater suspect's university documents," by Nicholas Riccardi, The Associated Press, July 26, 2012)