The Press: The Right to Silence

The First Amendment guarantee of a free press has never been interpreted by the Supreme Court the way some journalists would like to have it—a blanket protection against any judicial inquiry into a newsman's activity, sources and unpublished materials. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last November that New York Times Reporter Earl Caldwell was right in refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating the Black Panthers because the jury was on a "fishing expedition"; for Caldwell to talk, the court held, would have turned him into an investigative agent for the Government. Though an important precedent, the ruling...

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