ERIC Number: ED203367
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Reporter's Privilege in the 1980s: Statutory Limits and Judicial Expansion.
A summary of two countervailing trends in court decisions indicates that journalist's privilege is in a state of change and uncertainty in the early 1980s. Although 26 states have statutory shield laws enabling reporters to conceal their confidential news sources, even in these states reporters are sometimes called upon to reveal confidential information. On the other hand, in some states without shield laws, the courts have judicially recognized a limited privilege for reporters. The courts in a few states have flatly refused to take even that step. On the federal level, a number of courts have recognized a qualified privilege as a matter of federal common law if not Constitutional law in the years since the United States Supreme Court's "Branzburg" decision in 1972. Although a comprehensive federal shield law would seem the best way to protect journalists' sources, the Congress has consistently declined to enact such a law. In the meantime, the growing judicial trend is to recognize at least a limited privilege for reporters. While better than no privilege at all, this leaves much to be desired. (RL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - General; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: News Reporters; Shield Legislation; Supreme Court
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (64th, East Lansing, MI, August 8-11, 1981).