Centre for Communication Governance at NLU delhi
Literature from the International Context (Protection of Source)

Andrew Beaujon, NJ Judge Revives Blogger v. Journalist Debate, Poynter Institute, Feb 5 2013 (Last Accessed 19 September 2013)

This article discusses a case before the Union County Judge of New Jersey, which dealt with whether a blogger would get the right to protect her sources, just like the protection that is extended to journalists. The judge concluded that the blogger would get protection as the information that she shared was in public interest.

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Ellyn Angelotti, Debate about Crystal Cox Misses a key legal point, Poynter Institute, December 12 2011 (Last Accessed 19 September 2013)

This article discusses the decision of a federal judge in Oregon who ruled that Crystal Cox, a blogger who was sued for defamation after she accused the founder of an investment group of acting illegally and unethically, cannot claim protections afforded to journalists under state shield laws. In his ruling, the judge noted that Ms. Cox was not affiliated with a “newspaper, magazine, periodical, book, pamphlet, news service, wire service, news or feature syndicate, broadcast station or network, or cable television system.

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Press Laws Guide: Protection of Sources, The Hoot

This post is in the form of questions and answers. The questions raised cover the laws that relate to protection of sources of journalists in India, the right to refuse to divulge the source and the guidelines for the Court to follow in matters relating to the same.

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Manoj Mitta, No legal cover for journalists refusing to divulge source, The Times of India, April 2, 2012

This article addresses the vacuum that exists in Indian law with respect to protection of journalistic sources. It discusses the attitude of some High Courts while dealing with cases relating to protection of sources and the application of the Press Council Act. It also provides a glimpse into the laws in other countries with respect to protection of journalistic sources.

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Devna Arora, Do we need a privileged status for journalist’s sources, The Live Wire, February 4, 2013

The press performs the vital function of keeping the public informed. Reliance is placed by journalists on confidential sources for such information. This comment analyses whether a reporter can be directed in the interest of justice to disclose the source of information or should he further claim journalistic privilege as a defence.

David Banisar, SILENCING SOURCES: An International Survey of Protections and Threats to Journalists’ Sources, Privacy International

This report reviews the laws and practices in nations relating to protection of journalists’ sources around the world. The first section of this report discusses by topic the areas of relevance relating to protection of sources and how they are reflected in legislation, starting with international standards and concluding with domestic practices and issues of special concern such as national security, surveillance and defamation. The second section examines by region the situation and the challenges that journalists face. Several examples and cases will be presented to illustrate the current situation in the different regions. Finally, based on the collected information, guidelines based on the best laws and practices are included. These can be used when considering new laws and re-examining and amending existing legislation in countries on the protection of sources.

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Matthew Cooper, Why a Media-Shield Law Isn’t Enough to Save Journalists, The Atlantic, May 29, 2013

This article argues that a law will not be useful in protecting journalists’ sources. The rationale behind this argument is that protection of sources is an area where custom carries more weight than statute, the custom being the general good sense of prosecutors not to go after reporters for their information.

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Stephen Pritchard, The Reader’s editor on protecting journalists’ sources, The Guardian

This article raises the concern that the fundamental tenet of protection of journalistic sources Is threatened by technology and is undermining the public’s right to know. This is because the source protection for the journalist depends on his ability to keep the source confidential. However, with ever-increasing intervention of the government into private communication, keeping such sources confidential is proving to be extremely difficult.

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Yulia Ponomareva, MPs propose bill to protect journalists, The Russia and India Report, July 23, 2013

This article discusses the latest Bill in Russia to protect Journalists and their sources. If the bill becomes a law, the punishment for violence against a journalist will be the same as that for violence against a public official. The maximum penalty for non-life-threatening violence and threats of violence against a journalist (motivated by his/her professional activities) or his/her relatives will be five years in prison. In addition, acts of life-threatening violence could bring a 10-year prison sentence.

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Taylor Miller Thomas, Changes to Hawaii’s shield law ‘ignorant of what’s going on in the media world’, The Poynter Institute, April 12, 2013

This article discusses a proposed Hawaii law that would limit the use of anonymous sources and would remove protections on other reporting done by journalists. The law, now passed by the state’s House and Senate and awaiting conference committee, would limit the ability of Hawaii journalists to report on some important or high-stakes stories. The effect of this law would be that there would virtually be no shield law.

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Eoin Carolan, The implications of media fragmentation and contemporary democratic discourse for “journalistic privilege” and the protection of sources, The Irish Jurist (2013)

This article examines two Irish High Court judgments on the scope of the journalistic privilege against orders requiring the disclosure of confidential sources: (1) Cornec v Morris on whether a journalist could be made to give testimony confirming that he received information from the plaintiff in breach of a contractual non-disparagement clause; and (2) Walsh v News Group Newspapers on whether privilege applied to protect documents held by the defendant that confirmed the plaintiff’s suspicion that a person who made a false allegation of sexual assault against him had been paid by a journalist.

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Janice Brabyn, Protection against Judicially Compelled Disclosure of the Identity of News Gatherers’ Confidential Sources in Common Law Jurisdictions, 69(6) The Modern Law Review 895-934 (2006)

In many common law liberal democracies today, news gatherers are resisting efforts to use the powers of the courts to compel them to identify their confidential sources. Often the struggles are epic. Often the public interest in effective news gathering fuelling the vitality of a modern liberal democracy is insufficiently recognised. The article uses recent cases to spotlight the shortfalls in the approach and legacy of the common law in dealing with news gatherer/confidential source relationships. Post Human Rights Act English decisions, especially that of Tugendhat J in Ackroyd, combining European style commitment to the public interest in vigorous newsgathering with common law style analysis of evidence, point the way to a more effective approach. US and Hong Kong cases remind news gatherers of their public interest responsibilities.

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A.G. Noorani, The Constitution and Journalists Sources, Economic and Political Weekly, No. 27-28, July 28, 2006

This article discusses the US Free Flow of Information Bill that sought to balance the right to protect journalists’ sources with the people’s right to free flow of information and also the state’s duty to administer justice and punish offenders. The author states that this Bill provides India with a good model to work on. The Indian media, in turn, must work together to draft a bill and move the government of India to ensure its enactment in Parliament.

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Julian Huppert, We should look at the content of the Snowden files – not the messenger, The Guardian, 3 December 2013

This article discusses how the Select Committee in the UK which is investigating the Edward Snowden leak, has decided to call upon more relevant security officials as witnesses, instead of focusing on the editor of the Guardian. The idea is that a newspaper editor cannot be questioned and tried for the leak of information, when all he did was act as the messenger for the information that was leaked by Edward Snowden.

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