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Free-Press Disputes

April 8, 2005 • Volume 15, Issue 13
Are courts blocking the public's right to know?
By Kenneth Jost

Introduction

New York Times reporter Judith Miller talks to the press after being found in contempt in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 7, 2004, for refusing to reveal confidential sources during an investigation into the unmasking of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame. Miller, here with Executive Editor Bill Keller, faces a possible 18 months in jail.  (Getty Images/Brendan Smialowski)
New York Times reporter Judith Miller talks to the press after being found in contempt in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 7, 2004, for refusing to reveal confidential sources during an investigation into the unmasking of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame. Miller, here with Executive Editor Bill Keller, faces a possible 18 months in jail. (Getty Images/Brendan Smialowski)

Two nationally known reporters face possible jail sentences for refusing to answer grand jury questions about their confidential sources in the criminal probe of the leak of the name of a U.S. intelligence agent. The contempt of court case against Matthew Cooper of Time and Judith Miller of The New York Times is one of several similar conflicts between journalists and prosecutors and private lawyers viewed as less favorable to freedom of the press. Prosecutors say journalists have the same obligation as anyone else to give evidence in legal proceedings. But journalists say that offering confidentiality to sources wishing to remain anonymous is sometimes necessary to get information about government and corporate wrongdoing, such as the Abu Ghraib prison abuses and the Enron accounting-fraud scandal. Meanwhile, media groups are clashing with the Bush administration over restrictions on government information imposed since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Journalism, Newspapers, and the Media
May 03, 2013  Media Bias
Apr. 26, 2013  Free Speech at Risk
Apr. 12, 2013  Combat Journalism
Nov. 2010  Press Freedom
Oct. 08, 2010  Journalism Standards in the Internet Age
Feb. 05, 2010  Press Freedom
Mar. 27, 2009  Future of JournalismUpdated
Jun. 09, 2006  Blog ExplosionUpdated
Jan. 20, 2006  Future of Newspapers
Apr. 08, 2005  Free-Press Disputes
Oct. 15, 2004  Media Bias
Oct. 10, 2003  Media OwnershipUpdated
Dec. 25, 1998  Journalism Under Fire
Jun. 05, 1998  Student Journalism
Sep. 20, 1996  Civic Journalism
Sep. 23, 1994  Courts and the Media
Aug. 24, 1990  Hard Times at the Nation's Newspapers
Jan. 19, 1990  Finding Truth in the Age of ‘Infotainment’
Aug. 18, 1989  Libel Law: Finding the Right Balance
Jun. 06, 1986  Magazine Trends
Oct. 12, 1984  News Media and Presidential Campaigns
Jul. 15, 1983  State of American Newspapers
Oct. 23, 1981  High Cost of Libel
Dec. 23, 1977  Media Reforms
Mar. 11, 1977  News Media Ownership
Jun. 21, 1974  Access to the Media
Dec. 20, 1972  Newsmen's Rights
Aug. 16, 1972  Blacks in the News Media
Dec. 15, 1971  Magazine Industry Shake-Out
Jul. 18, 1969  Competing Media
Sep. 02, 1964  Politicians and the Press
Dec. 04, 1963  Libel Suits and Press Freedom
Jan. 09, 1963  Newspaper Mergers
Dec. 20, 1961  Reading Boom: Books and Magazines
Dec. 02, 1959  Privileged Communications
Apr. 25, 1956  Newsprint Deficit
May 06, 1953  Government and the Press
Sep. 21, 1948  Press and State
Sep. 05, 1947  Newsprint Supply
Mar. 26, 1947  Facsimile Newspapers
Dec. 10, 1945  World Press Freedom
May 01, 1940  New Experiments in Newspaper-Making
Nov. 04, 1933  Press Freedom Under the Recovery Program
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Domestic Issues
Freedom of Information
Print Media
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