The First in USA: A Blogger Jailed

The First in USA: A Blogger Jailed

Jeff Jarvis of the Guardian Unlimlited blog reports a case that might be the first of its kind in the USA: a blogger jailed by a US federal court for not handing over sources or source materials for a story. A case that–according to him–“will raise no end of questions about the rights, responsibilities, and protections of citizens acting as journalists.”

I myself wrote a few posts here and here regarding whether a blogger deserves to be called a journalist and– hence deserves the same rights and protection.

Even if you agree to regard blogger as journalist it still has its own problem, says Jeff Jarvis:

But if the internet allows anyone to publish, then who should get such protection? In Congress and the courts, arguments are ensuing over whether bloggers are journalists. I say that’s the wrong argument. Journalism isn’t defined by who makes it (and, in fact, trying to do that is a dangerous attempt to certify journalists, giving authorities the means to decertify them). Journalism is an act. I say that if one journalist’s act of reporting is covered, then all must be. And the journalists are not necessarily opposed. At a symposium on this topic, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller said: ‘The NY Times should be exceedingly humble about trying to decide who and who is not a journalist since we meet the test … and it feels like pulling up the ladder behind us.’ Still, he wasn’t sure which bloggers should qualify.”[]

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