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Maryland Governor’s Gag Order Held Not to Violate Reporters’ Rights

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  1. Freedom of Information
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A three-judge U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that Maryland’s governor did not violate the First Amendment rights of two Baltimore Sun reporters when he ordered state employees to not talk with them. Gov. Robert L. Erlich Jr. said he meant the order to have a chilling effect,” but the opinion by Judge Paul V. Niemeyer said the that was simply part of the “rough and tumble” of political reporting and gaining or losing access. “Public officials routinely select among reporters when granting interviews or providing access to nonpublic information.” The reporters, Judge Niemeyer said, “have not been chilled to any substantial degree in their reporting.” (2/16/06)