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INDIANAPOLIS - The Society of Professional Journalists is disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court today declined an opportunity to affirm a "reporter's privilege" based in the First Amendment.
The justices today announced they won't hear the appeals of Time Magazine reporter Matthew Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller. Both now face possible jail time for refusing to comply with a special prosecutor's request to submit to grand jury questioning. The Society believes imprisoning journalists will chill investigative reporting throughout the country to its detriment. The Society also notes there are remedies short of imprisonment available to the courts that we hope they will consider in the Miller and Cooper cases.
In addition, today's development makes it all the more important that Congress act to protect future reporters from having to make a choice between maintaining the confidentiality of sources or going to jail. Bills have been introduced in both houses and the Society is working with other journalism groups to win their passage.
The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. SPJ is dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, and based in Indianapolis, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed public, works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists, and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.