Victims’ First Amendment rights
Investigating leaks hampers reporting
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)
Reporters Committee launches first mobile app
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)
Reporters Committee calls sealing of records “unorthodox”
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)
SCOTUS brief on challenges federal wiretap laws
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.