The Press: Threatened Reporters

Though the U.S. press enjoys as much freedom as any in the world, a reporter's right to keep sources of sensitive information confidential remains a tense and crucial issue. When pressed by grand juries, prosecutors or judges to tell more than they are willing to print or broadcast, newsmen have traditionally claimed absolute immunity under the First Amendment, which broadly protects the press against Government regulation. The Supreme Court last June smashed that shield in a 5-4 ruling that journalists have no guaranteed immunity against compelled testimony before a grand jury.

The long-range effect, many fear, will be to cripple the kind...

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