CH 8 - CH 8: NEWSGATHERER'S PRIVILEGE -Journalists are...

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CH 8: NEWSGATHERER’S PRIVILEGE -Journalists are often jailed or sued for refusing to identify confidential news sources –  they  have also been sued FOR identifying confidential sources. -The Watergate era in the early 1970’s ushered in a time when investigative journalists  unearthed confidential information of great social and political importance, relying on sources  who could not be identified.  -The legendary “Deep Throat” helped Bob Woodward and Carl Berstein of the  Washington Post  uncover the Watergate Scandal that ultimately led to the resignation of  President Richard Nixon. -In many circumstances law enforcement officials, grand juries, the courts, and even Congress  demand information from journalists. -conflict because most journalists believe they have an ethical duty not to identify their  confidential news sources. -without confidential sources, many important news stories could never be reported. -judges want all relevant information to be made available in court, and they are increasingly  using their contempt of court power to enforce orders requiring journalists to supply confidential  information. Contempt of Court:  not following court orders (ie, not showing up to court after being  issued a subpoena) Newsgatherers Privilege: the right of reporters to keep their sources and unpublished  materials confidential in some instances. Shield Laws:  laws that sometimes excuse journalists from disclosing confidential  information. CONTEMPT OF COURT -originated with the idea that a judge should be able to control the decorum of the  courtroom, and should have the authority to summarily punish those who violate that  decorum. Several different types of Contempt of Court: 1. Direct Contempt : involves an act that violates the decorum of the court or  shows disrespect for the legal process (a citation usually results from a  misconduct in or near the courtroom, or a refusal to pbey a judge’s order –  when a reporter refuses to reveal a source after being asked to) 2. Indirect Contempt : constructive contempt; contempt by publication; involves  a disrespectful act remote from the courtroom. Until the 1940’s, judges could 
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punish journalists for writing something about the judge or justice system that  they didn’t like. 3. Criminal Contempt : is a punishment for an act of disrespect for a court. That  disrespect might be in the form of a photographer taking unauthorized  pictures in court, or a lawyer violating the rules in his zeal to win the case. In  either case, the offense would be an example of  direct contempt  of court and  would lead to a criminal sanction. 4.
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This note was uploaded on 04/11/2008 for the course LGLS 311? taught by Professor Washburn during the Spring '08 term at Bryant.

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CH 8 - CH 8: NEWSGATHERER'S PRIVILEGE -Journalists are...

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