The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press issued the following statement by Executive Director Bruce D. Brown in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to hear an appeal by New York Times reporter James Risen, who sought to overturn a federal appeals court ruling compelling Risen’s testimony about a confidential source:
“We are extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court declined this opportunity to uphold journalists’ ability to protect confidential sources, which is an essential tool utilized by a free press in newsgathering for the public trust. The lower court’s ruling sends an undeniable chill through current and future news sources who would want to come forward with information essential to the well-being of the community and the country.
“The Reporters Committee hopes that today’s Court inaction will lead to a robust federal shield law and serve as a catalyst in the news media’s continued efforts with the Department of Justice to craft strict, limited guidelines for federal subpoenas of reporters.”
The Reporters Committee most recently sent a letter, co-signed by 46 news organizations, to the Justice Department asking for withdrawal of the subpoena.
About the Reporters Committee
Founded in 1970, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offers free legal support to thousands of working journalists and media lawyers each year. It is a leader in the fight against persistent efforts by government officials to impede the release of public information, whether by withholding documents or threatening reporters with jail. In addition to its 24/7 Legal Defense Hotline, the Reporters Committee conducts cutting-edge legal research, publishes handbooks and guides on media law issues, files frequent friend-of-the-court legal briefs and offers challenging fellowships and internships for young lawyers and journalists. For more information, go to www.rcfp.org, or follow us on Twitter @rcfp.
Related Reporters Committee resources: