Ernest Harfst, Gilbert - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Ernest Harfst, Gilbert

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Posted: Friday, July 22, 2005 6:10 pm | Updated: 8:59 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Age: 78

Occupation: retired college administrator

Political party: Independent

1. Was Judith Miller of The New York Times right in refusing a court order to testify about an anonymous source and going to jail to protect that person's identity?

Right

2. Please explain.

Whether a reporter or not, citizens can refuse to testify if they are willing to accept the consequences. She was willing. Any reporter not willing to face jail should not use the source. Over-use of anonymity undermines credibility.

3. Were Time Inc. officials right in complying with a court order after all appeals failed and turning over documents that revealed the identity of a source promised anonymity by reporter Matt Cooper?

Right

4. Please explain.

The press is not above the law, even as the reputation of both becomes more shaky.

5. If you were an anonymous source, how far would you expect a reporter and news outlet to go in protecting your identity? Would you expect them to obey a court order to testify if all legal appeals failed?

I am not anonymous -- I sign my comments. Should a news source quote me without attribution, I would fully expect them to comply with court orders to divulge identities.

6. The Cleveland Plain Dealer is withholding two stories it describes as "of profound importance" because they're based on documents leaked to the newspaper by people who would "face deep trouble" for having leaked them. Should the Plain Dealer:

Pursue

7. Please explain.

Publishing now might speed up disclosure -- further digging might provide proof without threat to a source.

8. Should Congress pass a law shielding reporters from being forced to testify in such cases?

No

9. How would you define who deserves protection as a reporter or journalist? Check all that apply.

(no answer submitted)

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