Crystal J. Doucette
Ed De La Garza
Nikie Johnson Ellen Simonson
The First Amendment guarantees, among other
things, the freedom of the press. Inherent in that freedom is the right
of reporters to
protect the identity of their sources.
A disturbing pattern of interference with
the rights of journalists to protect their sources has been established
by the Bush
The Justice Department subpoenaed the home
telephone records of John Solomon, an Associated Press reporter, for the
which Solomon wrote about an investigation
of Sen. Robert Torricelli.
A May 4 AP story written by Solomon quoted
unidentified law enforcement officials saying Torricelli was recorded on
a wiretap in
1996 discussing fund raising with the
family of a prominent Chicago crime figure.
Louis D. Boccardi, AP president and CEO
said, "(The Justice Department's) actions fly in the face of long-standing
recognizes what a serious step it is to
go after a reporter's phone records."
First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrahms said
a Justice Department subpoena of a journalist's phone records was extremely
"There's no doubt that the decision of
the government to go so far as to obtain these telephone records raises
questions of a high order of delicacy,"
Coupled with the imprisonment of Vanessa
Leggett, a writer conducting research for a book about a murder in Texas,
have become increasingly concerned about
the courts undermining the First Amendment.
Gregg Leslie, legal defense director of
the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said the Ashcroft Justice
sending a bad signal.
Leslie asserts the Bush administration
is reopening avenues of investigation concerning journalists that the media
hoped had been
The Constitution is a vibrant and dynamic
document, subject to interpretations by each succeeding generation of Supreme
It's the responsibility of every American
to insure that such infringement on the inherent First Amendment rights
of reporters to protect
their sources doesn't go unchecked.
Forcing reporters to name their sources
would gut the power of the press to report the news. Without sources to
the press would be impotent to present
the public with timely and factual news.