Journalists, Take a Stand
Journalists around the country are being asked to stand for two minutes of silence today at noon EST (9am PST) to protest the threatened imprisonment of Judith Miller and Matt Cooper for refusing to reveal their sources to a grand jury investigating the source of the leaked identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame. One-hour vigils are also being organized at federal courthouses across the country. A New York judge will hear further arguments, and possibly impose jail sentences on the two journalists, today.
The situation is one of the most significant threats to the freedom of the press and the public's right to know in U.S. history. The Newspaper Guild has called for a national shield law to protect journalists from revealing their service:
"A federal shield law would allow journalists to do their jobs -- preserving the public's right to know. Without protection for the identity of sources, many matters of crucial public importance would not become publicly known. Fear of legal punishment will discourage sources from coming forward and inhibit the free flow of information, which is a vital element in shining the light of public awareness on the activities of government and the private sector."Regardless about what journalists feel specifically about this whole fiasco, I'm surprised that they haven't been more vocal about a federal shield law. With our current Big Brother-like administration and general climate of repression, we need to reinforce media's fast-eroding role as the checks-and-balances watchdog of the government -- especially as its three branches more and more come to represent the interests of one party.