A number of high profile court orders in the recent past have demanded reporters divulge confidential sources or face contempt charges. In response, both the House and the Senate have considered versions of a federal "reporters’ shield" law to supplement the common law privilege often extended to reporters to keep sources confidential. This topic provokes a number of questions about the role of the press and whether it should be treated more leniently, the issue of who is "press," the proper balance of governmental confidentiality and the "public right to know," and the ability of law enforcement and national security experts to pursue leakers of confidential or classified information.
Is a federal reporters’ shield law a good idea? How broadly should it reach? Should it protect professional journalists only or extend to ad hoc writers and bloggers, and if so, where and how is a line to be drawn? Are there other ways to balance reporters' and sources' interests with law enforcement? Is there a better mechanism than contempt to employ?
- Prof. Lillian BeVier, University of Virginia School of Law
- Mr. Andrew C. Hruska, King & Spalding
- Mr. Erik S. Jaffe, Law Offices of Erik S. Jaffe
- Prof. Lee Levine, Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, L.L.P. and Georgetown University Law Center
- Moderator: Hon. Rachel Brand, Former Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Policy, U.S Department of Justice
The Mayflower Hotel