District of Columbia

D.C. high court allows immediate appeal of denial of anti-SLAPP motion

Kevin Delaney | Libel | News | May 30, 2014
News
May 30, 2014

The District of Columbia's high court ruled Thursday that denials of anti-SLAPP motions to quash are immediately appealable, reversing a lower court order that would have forced Wikipedia to disclose data revealing the identity of an anonymous poster to the company’s site.

The case started after Susan L. Burke, a prominent human-rights attorney, filed a lawsuit claiming several anonymous defendants conspired to defame her by making changes to a Wikipedia page devoted to her legal work. Burke requested Wikipedia’s user data in an attempt to uncover the posters’ true identities.

Kennedy v. Orszag

January 21, 2014

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press put together a media coalition and successfully intervened to unseal records in a child-support modification case in D.C. Superior Court. The parties in the case are former Office of Management and Budget director and current Citigroup executive Peter Orszag and his ex-wife Cameron Kennedy. Orszag had tried to seal his financial records that were evidence in the case. The coalition argued that sealing runs counter to the presumptive right of access under common law to court documents in civil trials in Washington, D.C., that the public has a legitimate interest in learning how courts decide child-support matters, and that Orszag's purported justifications for sealing documents were insufficient to overcome the presumption of access.

Mann v. National Review II

April 22, 2014

The Reporters Committee and 28 other news organizations filed an amicus brief with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals urging it to accept jurisdiction to hear an immediate appeal of the denial of a special motion to dismiss under the D.C. anti-SLAPP statute. This is the second time this case has come before this court. During the first round, the court dismissed the appeal as moot because defendants appealed a decision on the original complaint, but Mann had filed an amended complaint that superseded the first, and the lower court still hadn't ruled on the motion to dismiss the amended complaint. The parties are now back in the Court of Appeals after the lower court denied defendants' motion to dismiss the amended complaint.

Media organizations oppose limits on photo access at the White House

Latara Appleby | Content Regulation | News | November 21, 2013
News
November 21, 2013

Thirty eight media organizations, including the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, joined a letter opposing the limits on photographers' access to White House events today.

The move was prompted by the White House's refusal to allow press photographers to cover events and instead distribute "visual press releases" taken by government employees.

“As surely as if they were placing a hand over a journalist’s camera lens, officials in this administration are blocking the public from having an independent view of important functions of the Executive Branch of government,” the letter read.

Mann v. National Review

November 13, 2013

The Reporters Committee and 19 other news organizations filed an amicus brief with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals urging it to accept jurisdiction to hear an immediate appeal of the denial of a special motion to dismiss under the D.C. anti-SLAPP statute.

Doe v. Burke

October 22, 2013

The Reporters Committee and seven other organizations filed an amicus brief with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals urging it to reverse an order of the D.C. Superior Court denying a Wikipedia editor's special motion to quash under the D.C. anti-SLAPP statute.

Whistleblowers and journalists emphasize necessity of secure communication at National Press Club panel

Amy Zhang | Reporter's Privilege | News | July 26, 2013
News
July 26, 2013

New York Times journalist James Risen moderated a discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Thursday that featured a panel of known leakers who shared advice with journalists on protecting their notes and sources.

Government forced to release names of Guantanamo Bay prisoners

Amy Zhang | Freedom of Information | News | June 20, 2013
News
June 20, 2013

In response to a federal Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by The Miami Herald, the Department of Defense was required to for the first time disclose the identify of 46 Guantanamo Bay prisoners detained indefinitely without trial because they are allegedly too dangerous to release but cannot be prosecuted.

Federal court upholds classification of treaty materials sought under FOIA

Aaron Mackey | Freedom of Information | News | June 7, 2013
News
June 7, 2013

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the government could withhold a document under the Freedom of Information Act on national security grounds, saying that a lower court improperly second-guessed an agency’s decision when it ordered the document’s release.

Justice search warrant relied on "probable cause" of criminal conduct by Fox News journalist

Rob Tricchinelli | Newsgathering | News | May 22, 2013
News
May 22, 2013

By labeling a Fox News reporter as a "co-conspirator" to a violation of the Espionage Act, the Department of Justice was able to obtain a secret search warrant in 2010 for the reporter's e-mail, under an exception to the federal statute governing search warrants of the media.