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SPJ applauds release of Judith Miller

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Irwin Gratz, SPJ President, (207) 874-6570 at work or (207) 329-6203 by cell or igratz@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Society of Professional Journalists is cheered at news our colleague Judith Miller has been released from jail. But it remains troubled at the time she was forced to spend behind bars. Society President Irwin Gratz says “It shows the utter lack of protection under federal law for reporters trying to maintain their promises of confidentiality.”

The Society is pushing for passage of a federal shield law. “We appreciate the need prosecutors have for information,” said President Gratz, “but when that information is extracted from reporters, we all pay a price in the diminished independence of the news media. That's why 49 states have recognized, in law or court precedent, the need to restrain prosecutors from seeking information from journalists. We urge Congress to follow suit.”

The Society is currently in the midst of a fund-raising drive to pay for its efforts to win passage of a federal shield law. Ms. Miller was originally scheduled to be a speaker at our annual convention next month. Gratz says “We're still hoping she'll be able to come and receive the appreciation of Society members for putting her own liberty on the line to secure an important journalistic principle.”

The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. The organization is the nation’s largest and most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.


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