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SPJ encourages federal judge to rescind ruling against The Los Angeles Times


Rebecca Baker, SPJ National President, 203-640-3904,
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Director of Communications and Marketing, 317-361-4134,

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is disappointed that a federal judge has ordered a newspaper to remove information from a published article.

The New York Times reports that a federal judge ordered The Los Angeles Times to remove information from a published article on Saturday, which described a plea agreement between prosecutors and a police narcotics detective in Glendale, Calif., who was accused of colluding with a Mexican crime syndicate.

Our nation is fortunate to have the First Amendment enshrine protection of a free press into the foundation of our country. Unfortunately, we have a judge arbitrarily ordering a news organization to delete information. The fact that federal courts cannot force news organizations to unpublish or withhold information they’ve legally obtained was settled decades ago.

We encourage U.S. District Judge John F. Walter to support the Constitution and a free press by rescinding his ruling. We also encourage all judges to read the late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s opinion in Landmark Communications, Inc. v. Virginia: "Though government may deny access to information and punish its theft, government may not prohibit or punish the publication of that information once it falls into the hands of the press, unless the need for secrecy is manifestly overwhelming."

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund, or give to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.


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