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Ex-USA Today Writer Personally Fined For Refusing To Name Sources

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posted on Mar, 10 2008 @ 12:33 PM
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Ex-USA Today Writer Personally Fined For Refusing To Name Sources


money.cnn.com

A former reporter for USA Today was ordered to personally pay daily fines that could run into the thousands of dollars because she refuses to disclose certain sources of information she used in reporting on the anthrax attacks in the U.S. in 2001, media reports say...

...The case in question is a suit by Steven J. Hatfill against the government, which had identified the scientist as a "person of interest" in the attacks. The lawsuit says the Justice Department violated his privacy and damaged...
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Mar, 10 2008 @ 12:33 PM
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This case brings up a couple interesting points of discussion:

Should journalists be forced to give up their sources? What about, in this case, when the sources were wrong and the person singled out by these sources (Hatfill) is seeking some sort of restitution?

Is it right for the judge to order that all fines be paid from Ms. Locy's personal accounts? Don't most journalists/companies have some sort of error and omissions insurance that helps to protect them in cases such as this?

Not sure where I stand on this, because both sides have legitimate reasons for their actions. Ms. Locy needs to protect her sources and keep the integrity of the journalist/source relationship, otherwise a lot of truth will remain hidden (although, in this case, there wasn't much truth given). On the other hand, if someone dirties my good name, I would think that I have every right to know who it is that is talking.

Any legal beagles out there with an opinion?

money.cnn.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Mar, 10 2008 @ 12:39 PM
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If I was this journalist I'd appeal all the way to the top. You've got to have confidentiality in cases like this in order to get the story out. And if the government uses strongarm tactics, in my opinion they're breaking the First Amendment.



posted on Mar, 10 2008 @ 12:51 PM
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I personally would have thought that USA Today and it's owners would be liable as they went public with it.

If they were unsure as to the validity of the claims, they should have erred on the side of caution.

But if it says in the journalists contract with USA Today that they are personally responsible for the accuracy of any and all stories they submit, then fair enough.



posted on Mar, 10 2008 @ 12:58 PM
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reply to post by Irma
 


The article doesn't say specifically what the policy of USA Today / Gannet is and I don't think that it is an issue with USAToday/Gannet refusing to pay. The judge in this case specifically ordered that Ms. Locy pay out of her own pocket as a way of encouraging (coercing?) her to give up her sources. Note: Ms. Locy is currently a journalism professor and reportedly makes $75K/year, so this stiff and progressive fine can really do some financial damage.

Like they say, "hit 'em where it hurts", and we all know that nothing hurts like a good shot to your pocketbook.

[edit on 10-3-2008 by kawz1]



posted on Mar, 10 2008 @ 01:03 PM
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I think the reporter is being persecuted. She never used inaccurate information as far as I can tell from the story, and this story needed to get out. It illuminated the fact that the government was hounding the wrong guy, probably to protect the guy who almost certainly did it. It's not the fault of the reporter this guy's reputation was damaged, it was the fault of the government. I think they are trying to shift the blame onto her.

www.whatreallyhappened.com...



posted on Mar, 10 2008 @ 01:21 PM
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reply to post by chromatico
 


I agree, there seems to be a lot of focus on this journalist and not enough focus on who the hell was responsible for the anthrax...a case that is still "unsolved". It amazes me how the whole anthrax-letters-case has been effectively forgotten by the public and only comes up in national news when they are talking about a journalist who was trying to figure things out.



posted on Mar, 11 2008 @ 07:19 PM
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Just FYI, the Courts decided not to fine her while she awaits an appeal.

Court Suspends Fines for Reporter



posted on Mar, 11 2008 @ 07:30 PM
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Only thing they can do is prove otherwise. Which is doubtful it seems .



posted on Mar, 11 2008 @ 07:33 PM
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reply to post by oLDWoRLDDiSoRDeR
 


Who prove what otherwise?




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