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Last Update: 1 Day and 7 Hour and 32 Minute ago
News code: 21883
Published Date: Saturday 10 May 2014 - 14:17:31
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US Pulitzer Prize-winner facing jail

US Pulitzer Prize-winner facing jail
World  - A petition has been posted to US President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, demanding the Justice Department stop threatening Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter James Risen with jail time if he refuses to identify one of his confidential sources.

In the petition, The Progressive magazine, Center for Media and Democracy, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), The Nation magazine, Roots Action, and other organizations have joined efforts to insist on protection for the confidentiality of journalists’ sources.

The Justice Department has been aggressively pursuing Risen on a federal contempt of court charge to reveal the identity of one of his sources.

Risen, a reporter at the New York Times, has so far refused to comply, invoking his privilege as a journalist under the First Amendment to keep his source a secret.

A lower court agreed with him, but the 4th Circuit US Court of Appeals reversed that decision. If the Supreme Court will not hear Risen's appeal, he could be jailed for refusing to identify the source of his material.

The information concerns a source for a chapter in Risen’s 2006 book, “State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.”

“If I am forced to testify, it will immediately and substantially harm my ability to gather newsworthy information” and “to secure the trust of sources in the future,” the Pulitzer Prize-winner journalist said.

Risen said the Obama administration’s effort to prosecute him is part of a broader policy of “aggressively investigating whistleblowers and reporters in a way that will have a chilling effect on the freedom of the press in the United States.”

Federal authorities allege that the source was Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer who is charged with disclosing classified information and is being prosecuted by the Justice Department under the Espionage Act.

News Code: 21883
Published Date: Saturday 10 May 2014 - 14:17:31
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