WASHINGTON—Attorney General Merrick Garland today released revised regulations limiting federal prosecutors from using subpoenas, warrants, or certain court orders to seize reporters’ records in an effort to uncover their confidential sources in leak investigations.
The following can be attributed to Anna Diakun, staff attorney, Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.
“This is a good policy that provides important protections for journalists doing work the public needs them to do. Still, the policy doesn’t make clear who qualifies as a ‘member of the news media,’ though the policy’s protections hinge on this term. It’s also not entirely clear whether the protection for ‘newsgathering’ covers reporters who ask sources to share classified information, though this practice is a critical part of national security journalism. Finally, the policy does not address the targeting of journalists using national security laws. Despite these shortcomings, this policy is a victory for press freedom and lays a foundation for further reform.”
Read the revised regulations here.
For more information, contact: Lorraine Kenny, [email protected].