Tuesday, November 14, 2006

'Expose a scandal, face a prison term'

The LA Times has an article today that is a good summary of what is happening with the two reporters from the San Francisco Chronicle that broke the BALCO story and now face prison time. Even after being praised by President Bush, they have been sentenced to 18 months in prison each, more than the combined sentences of everyone involved in the scandal they wrote about. It is a reminder and a warning to journalists that they are not safe, despite what the First Amendment might say.

Media advocates say cases like BALCO are eroding the press' check-and-balance role in society. Lucie Morillon, of the Paris-based advocacy group Reporters Without Borders, said the United States' ranking in its annual survey of press freedom fell from 17 in 2002 to 53 in 2005. "The main thing in the U.S. is attacks on confidential sources," she said.
I can understand the need to protect witnesses and defendants in grand jury proceedings; however, journalists need to be able to protect their sources and write freely, even when they disagree with the current administration.

1 comment:

Sean Gilpin said...

Those journalists deserve jail time regardless of whether they reveal their source. The fact that Barry Bonds did steroids is in no way important enough to undermine the grand jury.