1. Journalists Should Not Be Forced To Reveal Their Sources
This is a debate that has gone on since the beginning of time. Should a reporter be allowed to conceal the sources used in the writing of their journalistic materials? I have always believed and still do that journalists should not be forced by legal methods to unveil their sources.
2. Journalists Required to do Due Diligence in Producing Journalistic Pieces
There are a wide variety of reasons why this is so. First, the source must trust the journalist to take such a high risk as to share something that would be controversial in the public eye, but also could in some instances endanger the source’s life. Secondly, a journalist is supposed to be someone we all turn to with the hope of getting an accurate perspective on a topic. This means a balanced perspective, the journalist must do due diligence to ensure that what his source has told him is accurate. But he or she is required to explore the other side of the story to confirm as best they can that the source is providing them with accurate information. For legal bodies to then question the source of information is a fallacy. No reporter is allowed to publish anything unless they share their sources with their editor. The editor of any journalistic publication must go over what their reporters are producing for public consumption with a fine tooth comb, making sure that they confirm with their legal departments that nothing said in any journalist’s writing can be considered liable or slander against anyone, including government. So by the time the ink dries on the journalist’s story, it has been thoroughly examined for accuracy and legal issues.
3. Differing Perspectives on the Interpretation of Laws Created Since 9/11
The New York Times reported on October 9, 2014, when they published the article entitled “Fox News Reporter Fought Subpoena in Justice Dept. Leak Inquiry” By Matt Apuzzo that the rules seemed to have changed since 9/11. With the granting of broad sweeping powers to Home Land Security, it seems to have created an environment whereby reporters are now expected to reveal their sources and as a result, law enforcement has taken this as permission for them to subpoena journalists on the identity of their sources.
4. Huge Numbers of Security Organizations Make It More Difficult to Find Security Leaks
Although Home Land Security has been given carte blanche with any legalities affecting America, this should not be held in higher regard than a journalist’s right to keep their sources’ identities anonymous. Plus, in the instance sited in the New York Times article listed above, the information that legal sources were endeavouring to find the identity of the leak was so broadly disseminated through a vast number of security related organizations, that no leak could be found. So while it was easy for the government to blame the media for a leak, the structures that they themselves have set up are so broad sweeping that they could not actually blame the journalist, as there were hundreds and hundreds of sources he could have drawn upon.
5. Maintaining the Rights of Journalists to Protect the Identities of Their Sources is Vital to a Free Press
I believe it is important for us to maintain the rights of journalists to protect the names of their sources, for their own safety, their sources safety and to ensure that the truth will always find its way to the public who have a vested interest in the information provided by journalists.