The Press: Gag Removed

It was the newspapers' fight, but the radio stations did the fighting and won the victory. For ten years, the Baltimore papers had spinelessly obeyed Rule 904 of the municipal Supreme Bench, which prohibited newspapers—and radio stations—from reporting a suspect's confession or past criminal record until they were introduced in court. The judges had put the British-style gag on the press in 1939, after a sensational murder case, in the belief that newspaper stories might deprive a defendant of an impartial trial.

When a handy man confessed to murdering an eleven-year-old girl last July, most of the city's radio stations decided to...

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