The Press: Denting the Shield

Successful investigative journalism has long depended on the court-recognized right of a reporter to protect his sources in most situations by withholding their names from public disclosure. Otherwise, ordinary citizens, fearful of retaliation by powerful people, might hesitate to speak out about wrongdoing. Two cases now seriously threaten to undercut that First Amendment right. In Fresno, Calif., a judge sentenced two editors and two reporters to serve indefinite terms in jail because they refused to reveal how their newspaper, the Fresno Bee, obtained and later printed sealed grand jury testimony. The testimony...

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