At issue - when privileged information (such as from a doctor, lawyer, clergy, etc) or classified information (such as government information, or legal information) is obtained by a reporter and then made public, and the matter is brought before a court, should a reporter have to reveal where the information came from?
It depends on the information, it depends on the circumstances, it depends on the reporter, etc. I can see it both ways. What I can NOT see, is some blanket law that protects all reporters in all circumstances.
So, it is up to the "journalist" to determine if publishing the information is worth it. Is the information a MUST KNOW for the public? Is the source worth protecting?
Many times I read these stories and it appears as if the reporter took a short cut. The reporter received the information, and it was big news, so they put it out there. It is very similar to what can happen in a criminal investigation. Often times, informants, or witnesses, provide valuable information that, if made public, would put their lives in jeopardy. An investigator has to weigh the information against the risk to the source of the information. One technique is to "wall off" the source of the information, and to find an alternative way to obtain it. This can require great skill, and many do not do it well. Just as in the case with reporters.
In the above case, a FOX reporter obtained information that is believed to have been given in VIOLATION of a gag order from a court. Meaning, a judge ruled that information regarding the case is not to be discussed in public, or with outsiders. The gag order applies to officers of the court and participants in the case (law enforcement, prosecutors, defense, witnesses, etc.). What was the information that was reported? That the shooter in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre sent a journal to his psychiatrist BEFORE the shooting. Is this news that the public HAS to know? I don't think so. It can wait until the gag order is lifted - it will be "news" then too. Her only reason was to trump other news media.
There are other cases where sources must be protected. There are other cases where the public must be made aware...
|Was he one of those cases?|