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U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald Says Reporters Need To Disclose Sources When Ordered

Patrick Fitzgerald says reporters must obey when ordered by a judge to reveal sources. I disagree. Some of the biggest corruption scandals would never have come to light without reporters’ willingness to protect sources and go to jail if necessary. Besides, the real point here is that Congress needs to pass a federal shield law to protect reporters and sources. That would end the argument about being above the law.

Patrick Fitzgerald/ticklethewire.com photo

Patrick Fitzgerald/ticklethewire photo

By James Podgers
ABA Journal
CHICAGO – Journalists should not put themselves above the law in their efforts to protect sources and confidential information, said Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, today at a program during the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Prosecutors and reporters share an interest in gathering information that can help expose corruption and uncover wrongdoing by government officials and those who wield power, Fitzgerald said, but those interests do not always match.

“No one is against the right to know,” said Fitzgerald at the program sponsored by the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, “but we both have strong views about the best way to get to the truth in a particular case.” He emphasized that his comments were not intended to reflect policy positions of the Obama administration.

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