WASHINGTON, July 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. press leaders on Monday applauded Attorney General Merrick Garland for formally barring federal prosecutors from seizing the records of journalists in leak investigations, with limited exceptions, reversing years of department policy.
Lisa Nicole Matthews, president of the National Press Club, and Angela Greiling Keane, president of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, issued the following statement:
"We are grateful the attorney general has at long last squared Justice Department policy with the First Amendment. Too often in recent years, reporters' communications records have been subpoenaed in the name of fighting leaks. The government has a right to try to protect legitimate secrets. But the public benefits in incalculable ways from an unfettered press exposing facts that government officials sometimes would prefer to keep quiet. The broad and ongoing benefit of that sunshine outweighs the government's interest in clamping down on any particular leak. The new policy gets it right."
According to news reports, a memo that will institute Garland's decision bars subpoenas of a reporter's records except in limited circumstances, including if the journalist is suspected of working for agents of a foreign power or terrorist organizations or for situations with imminent risks such as kidnappings or crimes against children.
Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists. The Club has 3,000 members representing nearly every major journalism organization and is a leading voice for press freedom in the United States and around the world.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute, the Club's nonprofit affiliate, promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press and equips journalists with the skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire civic engagement.
Contact: John Donnelly, NPC Press Freedom Team Chair: email@example.com, 202-650-6738
SOURCE National Press Club