Anonymous sources

Free press groups petition Attorney General on behalf of journalist James Risen

Emily Grannis | Newsgathering | News | August 14, 2014
August 14, 2014

More than 100,000 people, including 20 Pulitzer Prize winners, signed a petition submitted to President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder today urging the administration to rethink its policy of subpoenaing journalists to reveal their sources.

Seven representatives of free press organizations announced the delivery of the petition at the National Press Club this afternoon and called on the administration to drop its threatened subpoena of New York Times reporter James Risen.

Risen has been fighting since 2007 to protect a confidential source he used in writing a book about the Central Intelligence Agency, and he joined the panel at the press conference today.

Supreme Court requires police to obtain warrants before searching cell phones

Bradleigh Chance | Reporter's Privilege | News | June 25, 2014
June 25, 2014

The Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision in favor of digital privacy Wednesday that says police generally need a search warrant to examine an arrested person’s cell phone.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a sweeping opinion, stating that digital devices contain collections of potentially sensitive information. The Court rejected arguments that searching a cellphone is akin to examining anything else officers might find on someone they arrest.

“Modern cell phones, as a category, implicate privacy concerns far beyond those implicated by the search of a cigarette pack, a wallet, or a purse,” Roberts wrote.

The opinion still allows police to search cell phones without warrants under “exigent circumstances.” This includes “ticking-bomb scenarios” or instances when there’s reason to believe evidence is going to be destroyed.

Sen. Wyden speaks out against new policy restricting access to intelligence sources

Bradleigh Chance | Newsgathering | News | June 18, 2014
June 18, 2014

On the Senate floor this week Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., praised new statutory protections for intelligence agency whistleblowers, but expressed concerns with a new policy created by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that punishes intelligence agency employees for talking to the press.

Wyden worked with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to include the new whistleblower protections in a provision in the 2014 Intelligence Authorization bill, which passed unanimously Wednesday evening, but Wyden’s success with the bill is overshadowed by his frustrations with a new policy from the DNI.

Bill to strengthen Colorado shield law fails in committee

Cindy Gierhart | Reporter's Privilege | News | January 30, 2014
January 30, 2014

A bill that would have strengthened the Colorado shield law did not garner sufficient votes in the state's Senate Judiciary Committee to move forward.

Republican state Sen. Bernie Herpin introduced the bill in response to Fox News reporter Jana Winter's recent subpoena to testify before a Colorado court in the case of James Holmes, on trial for the Aurora theater shooting.

Colorado considers bill to bolster reporter shield law

Cindy Gierhart | Reporter's Privilege | News | January 16, 2014
January 16, 2014

The Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee considered a bill Wednesday that would strengthen the Colorado reporter shield law.

Colorado Sen. Bernie Herpin introduced the bill after Colorado courts threatened jail time for Fox News reporter Jana Winter if she did not reveal her confidential sources. The committee delayed a vote on the bill until a later date.

Reporters Committee and 42 news organizations argue that New York law should protect reporter in Colorado shooting case

Press Release | May 17, 2013
May 17, 2013
Reporters Committee and 42 news organizations argue that New York law should protect reporter in Colorado shooting case

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, joined by 42 other news organizations and associations, argued in a friend-of-the-court brief that a New York court should not have allowed a Colorado subpoena to be served on a Fox News reporter in the Auroro, Colo., shooting case, because New York's strong public policy of protecting reporters' sources would not be satisfied under Colorado law.

Fox News reporter may return to Colo. courtroom to defend confidential sources

Lilly Chapa | Reporter's Privilege | News | April 3, 2013
April 3, 2013

Subpoenaed Fox News journalist Jana Winter will have to return to a Colorado courtroom to possibly testify about who gave her sealed information in the James Holmes case, a judge ordered Monday.

However, Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos Samour said in Monday’s hearing that he intends to make Holmes’ lawyers “jump through all the hoops” before forcing Winter to share who gave her details of a notebook Holmes sent to his psychiatrist days before he allegedly opened fire in an Aurora movie theater, killing 12 people.

Reporters Committee exec director warns of chilling effect as government tracks reporters' sources without subpoenas

Press Release | September 12, 2011
September 12, 2011

Federal subpoenas of reporters could wane as the administration finds other ways to track down their confidential sources, writes Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Executive Director Lucy Dalglish in the latest edition of The News Media & The Law.

State high court extends media protection to mortgage website

Cristina Abello | Reporter's Privilege | Quicklink | May 6, 2010
May 6, 2010

The New Hampshire Supreme Court on Thursday reaffirmed that a website covering the mortgage industry has the same First Amendment protections as traditional media.

White House asks reporters to stop citing anonymous sources

Christine Beckett | Newsgathering | Quicklink | April 19, 2010
April 19, 2010

White House press correspondents have been asked to stop the practice of citing anonymous government sources in their work, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told CNN on Sunday, The Hill reported.

Gibbs finds no reason why reporters cannot find attributable sources in the administration and talked about a policy where officials will not comment on stories where there are anonymous sources used.