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Professional Integrity v Jail Sentence

Posted by Media Relations on Thursday, July 7th, 2005 - Comments »

Yesterday, New York Times journalist, Judith Miller, was sent to jail for refusing to disclose her confidential source to a grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA operative’s name.

Ironically, Miller never actually wrote a story about this. She was sentenced to at least 120 days in jail for simply having a conversation with the source.

Simiarly, Time Magazine’s journalist, Matt Cooper, also faced a jail sentence but decided to testify after gaining permission from his source.

These latest occurrences clearly challenge the integrity of journalism as a whole. If journalists are unable to promise confidentiality to their sources, will they be willing to talk? We could be faced with a situation where the press is unable to communicate breaking news to the public.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has lashed out at the Government and is urging Congress to create a federal shield legislation to protect journalists who are simply doing their job.

It is, indeed, a sad situation for journalists nationwide, knowing that one day, they too, may be forced to choose between professional integrity and imprisonment.

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