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May 22, 2009 | JAMES RAINEY
It's not hard for most people to know what to do when they happen upon a crime, or its aftermath. They find a police officer and cooperate in any way they can. Only it's not always that simple for a journalist working on a story. And that's not so simple to understand. The latest fight over a claim of reportorial exceptionalism comes to us from San Francisco, where a college photojournalist documenting life in a sketchy neighborhood happened on a homicide scene.
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OPINION
February 4, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Two decades ago, Congress overwhelmingly approved and President Clinton enthusiastically signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. But now that the 1993 law is being used to challenge the Obama administration's requirement that employer health plans include contraceptive services, some supporters of the law are having second thoughts, and several organizations want the Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional. That would be a mistake. The law was a response to a 1990 Supreme Court decision involving two Oregon men who had been denied unemployment benefits after they were fired for using the hallucinogenic drug peyote during a Native American religious rite.
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NEWS
September 12, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - Journalists and bloggers who report news to the public will be protected from being forced to testify about their work under a media shield bill passed by a Senate committee Thursday. But the new legal protections will not extend to the controversial website WikiLeaks and others whose principal work involves disclosing “primary source documents … without authorization.” Senate sponsors of the bill and a coalition of media groups that support it hailed Thursday's bipartisan committee vote as a breakthrough.
NATIONAL
December 10, 2013 | By Michael Muskal, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
In a strongly worded opinion that backed a robust interpretation of reporters' rights to protect confidential sources, New York state's highest court has ruled in favor of a Fox news reporter and said she does not have to appear in a Colorado court seeking her testimony in connection with the trial of James E. Holmes, accused in the mass shooting that left 12 dead in a suburban Denver movie theater. In 4-3 ruling released on Tuesday, the New York Court of Appeals held that the state's shield law protects New York-based reporter Jana Winter and rejected an effort by the Colorado courts to have her return to testify.
OPINION
September 24, 2009
After waiting nearly 40 years for Congress to protect journalists' right not to disclose confidential sources, news organizations -- and the public they serve -- can't complain too vociferously about a brief postponement last week of a Senate Judiciary Committee vote on a "shield law" approved by the House in March. Still, the Senate's sluggishness in requiring federal courts to respect a privilege recognized by two-thirds of the states is disappointing. So is the Obama administration's failure to provide support for allowing a judge to decide, in national security cases, whether the public interest in forcing a reporter to violate a vow of confidentiality outweighs the importance of the news-gathering at issue.
OPINION
November 17, 2009
After some unsettling equivocation, the Obama administration has embraced a Senate bill that would offer limited protections to reporters who have promised confidentiality to their sources. The compromise reached by the administration and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee is imperfect, but it brings a federal "shield law" closer to enactment than at any time in recent history. The Times and other major news organizations would prefer that every source for a news story be identified.
OPINION
August 5, 2010
For years, members of Congress have tied themselves in knots trying to figure out how to pass a "shield law" that allows journalists to protect the identities of sources without giving anything to journalists whom those same members do not like or appreciate. Lawmakers recognize the value of protecting sources when they disclose the Pentagon Papers or details about Watergate, but they're less keen on those who reveal corporate secrets or classified documents about wars they support. Now, with a shield law poised for approval, the WikiLeaks disclosures of classified material from Afghanistan have reinforced the timidity that has delayed this legislation for too long.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 19, 2005 | Steve Chawkins, Times Staff Writer
British TV journalist Martin Bashir asked a judge Tuesday to reject a bid by prosecutors to have him testify in Michael Jackson's upcoming child molestation trial. Bashir's 2003 documentary, "Living With Michael Jackson," triggered a furor when the pop star admitted that he enjoyed sleepovers with young boys.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 8, 1988 | CHRIS WOODYARD, Times Staff Writer
The California Shield Law does not protect news reporters if they are compelled to testify about their observation of public events, a state Court of Appeal ruled unanimously Thursday.
OPINION
September 16, 2007
Re "Sources of controversy," editorial, Sept. 11 Physician Steven Hatfill sued the federal government for the "intentional and willful" leaking of his name in connection with its investigation into the anthrax attacks of 2001 that killed five people. He also sued the New York Times for libel, but he was unable to make his case because he could not show that the paper "knowingly published falsehoods."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 3, 2013 | By Melanie Mason and Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown approved a change Thursday to the state's drug trafficking law that could ease penalties for those caught with drugs meant for personal use. The measure, by Assemblyman Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), redefines "transporting" narcotics to explicitly mean transportation for sale. Prosecutors will have to prove that a person caught with drugs meant to sell them in order to charge them with trafficking, which is a felony. "Too many people are getting caught up in the prison system with nothing more than a small amount of drugs for personal use," Bradford said in a statement.
NEWS
September 12, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - Journalists and bloggers who report news to the public will be protected from being forced to testify about their work under a media shield bill passed by a Senate committee Thursday. But the new legal protections will not extend to the controversial website WikiLeaks and others whose principal work involves disclosing “primary source documents … without authorization.” Senate sponsors of the bill and a coalition of media groups that support it hailed Thursday's bipartisan committee vote as a breakthrough.
NATIONAL
September 12, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - Journalists and bloggers who report news to the public will be protected from being forced to testify about their work under a media shield bill passed by a Senate committee Thursday. But the new legal protections will not extend to the controversial online website Wikileaks and others whose principal work involves disclosing "primary-source documents … without authorization. " Senate sponsors of the bill and a coalition of media groups that support it hailed Thursday's bipartisan Senate Judiciary Committee vote as a breakthrough.
OPINION
May 30, 2013
After a firestorm of criticism, the Obama administration is suggesting that it will make amends for its aggressive pursuit of journalists suspected of receiving leaks of classified information. But airy affirmations of the importance of a free press and vague promises of a new look at Justice Department regulations aren't enough. The administration needs to commit itself in specific terms to stronger protections for news gathering that will be embodied in a federal statute. It was bad enough that the Justice Department seized the records of calls from more than 20 telephone lines belonging to the Associated Press and its journalists without notifying the news agency in a timely fashion - or giving the AP the chance to object in court.
OPINION
May 16, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
President Obama may be engaging in political damage control in proposing that Congress resurrect legislation to protect the confidentiality of journalists' sources. But his call for action on a federal shield law is welcome even if it is inspired by a desire to deflect criticism of the Justice Department's seizure of the phone records of the Associated Press. Although described as a "reporter's privilege," protection for confidential news sources actually benefits the public by making it easier for journalists to obtain information about wrongdoing in government and elsewhere.
NATIONAL
May 15, 2013 | By Kathleen Hennessey, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Facing questions about the Justice Department's secret seizure of reporters' phone records, the White House says that it will renew its push for legislation that would offer federal protections to journalists and their sources. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday that the White House had asked Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to reintroduce the so-called media shield bill, which would in some cases prevent reporters from being compelled to name confidential sources.
NEWS
April 29, 1988 | PHILIP HAGER, Times Staff Writer
A state Court of Appeal ruled Thursday that, under the journalist's "shield law," a reporter cannot be forced to testify about unpublished portions of an interview with the defendant in a capital murder case. The case has drawn attention as a potentially pivotal test of a provision of the state Constitution adopted in 1980 that protects reporters from contempt for refusing to disclose confidential sources or unpublished information they obtain while gathering news.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 18, 1986 | From Times Wire Services
California law allows a reporter who quoted an unpublished Shaklee Corp. memorandum in a news story to refuse to turn over the document to former Shaklee distributors who are being sued by the company in Utah, a federal magistrate has ruled. In a decision made public Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Frederick Woelflen said Los Angeles Times reporter Victor F.
OPINION
August 5, 2010
For years, members of Congress have tied themselves in knots trying to figure out how to pass a "shield law" that allows journalists to protect the identities of sources without giving anything to journalists whom those same members do not like or appreciate. Lawmakers recognize the value of protecting sources when they disclose the Pentagon Papers or details about Watergate, but they're less keen on those who reveal corporate secrets or classified documents about wars they support. Now, with a shield law poised for approval, the WikiLeaks disclosures of classified material from Afghanistan have reinforced the timidity that has delayed this legislation for too long.
BUSINESS
April 27, 2010 | By David Sarno, Los Angeles Times
San Mateo County sheriff's deputies searched the home of Gizmodo blogger Jason Chen, who created an online sensation among Apple Inc. fans when he posted extensive information about a lost iPhone prototype, according to a message Monday on the site. Gizmodo said the deputies, who had a search warrant when they arrived at Chen's home Friday night, seized two dozen pieces of electronic equipment, including computers, hard drives and digital cameras. According to the warrant displayed on the site, the search was sought because the property may have been "used as a means of committing a felony" or could "show a felony has been committed."
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