OSCE media freedom representative calls on US authorities to drop case against journalist
VIENNA, 3 June 2014 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović, today said she was disappointed by the U.S. Supreme Court decision which may force a reporter to reveal their sources in a criminal trial.
The decision of the U.S. highest court endorses a previous judgement by the United States Court of Appeals in Virginia which also affirmed a ruling requiring James Risen, a reporter for The New York Times, to testify in the criminal trial of a former Central Intelligence Agency official charged with disclosing classified information to the reporter.
“As I stated in my previous interventions on this case, it is not acceptable to force a journalist to testify and disclose their sources when reporting on matters of public interest.” Mijatović said.
Mijatović noted that the Justice Department still has the chance to refrain from any action which may end up in sentencing Risen to jail for contempt if he refuses to testify.
“I urge the authorities to show restraint in line with internal regulations adopted by the Department and public statements recently made on this issue by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.”.
The Representative also called once again for the adoption of a shield law to protect journalists and their sources.
“The right of reporters to protect their sources is one of the key principles of investigative journalism and must be safeguarded,” she said.
The Representative’s earlier statements are available at www.osce.org/fom/104429 www.osce.org/fom/103842 and www.osce.org/fom/102051.
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more atwww.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on facebook.com/osce.rfom.
For PDF attachments or links to sources of further information, please visit: http://www.osce.org/fom/119475
Gunnar Vrang, Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media
office: +43 1 51436 6602
mobile: +43 664 1342828
fax: +43 1 514 36 6802