WikiLeaks Would Not Qualify to Claim Federal Reporter’s Privilege in Any Form
Federal Communications Law Journal (2011)
  • Jonathan Peters
Article
Abstract
This article addresses whether WikiLeaks could claim a federal reporter’s privilege if the U.S. government or a U.S. entity tried to compel one of the site’s staff members to disclose the source(s) of any documents it has released. After exploring the origins of the First Amendment-based privilege, I argue that WikiLeaks would not be able to claim it. First, the website does not engage in investigative reporting. Second, it has not taken steps consistently to minimize harm. I also discuss congressional attempts to pass a federal shield law, paying special attention to H.R. 985 and S. 448, the two most recent shield bills. I argue that WikiLeaks was an ill fit for their definitions of "covered person." For these reasons, I conclude that WikiLeaks would not qualify to claim a federal reporter’s privilege in any form.
Keywords
  • WikiLeaks,
  • First Amendment,
  • Reporter's Privilege,
  • Shield
Publication Date
May, 2011
Citation Information
Jonathan Peters. "WikiLeaks Would Not Qualify to Claim Federal Reporter’s Privilege in Any Form" Federal Communications Law Journal Vol. 63 (2011)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jonathan_peters/2/