A chill went through U.S. newsrooms in 2013, with federal authorities demanding access to reporters’ confidential contacts.
Investigative journalists argue that they can’t do their jobs unless they can tell certain sources that their identities will remain secret, or else future whistle-blowers will fear coming forward. And leakers have good reason to be afraid, with eight people either charged or imprisoned by the federal government over alleged leaks under the administration of President Barack Obama, more than any other in U.S. history.
The easiest way to find the source of a leak is to question the reporter who published it. When they refuse to name names under oath, reporters risk being jailed until they do. It’s happened before.
Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak