Reporter's Aurora Scoop Shouldn't Send Her to Jail

Judith Miller: Fox's Jana Winter is right not to divulge her James Holmes sources
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2013 11:47 AM CDT
Reporter's Aurora Scoop Shouldn't Send Her to Jail
Fox news reporter Jana Winter arrives at district court in Centennial, Colo., on April 1.   (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

An assault on the freedom of the press is taking place here in the US, writes journalist Judith Miller in the Los Angeles Times. A court in Colorado might soon order Fox News reporter Jana Winter to jail for refusing to disclose the sources behind her reporting in the aftermath of last year's shooting rampage in Aurora. Among other things, Winter got the "world-class scoop" that James Holmes had sent a notebook about his plans for a mass killing to his psychiatrist before the attack. Holmes' attorneys say that her sources violated a gag order, and Winter is refusing to name them.

That's the right move, but Winter shouldn't be forced to choose between her freedom and her ability to function as a journalist, writes Miller, who served 85 days in jail herself for refusing to divulge sources in the CIA's Valerie Plame case. (She, too, now works for Fox News.) "A nation cannot remain free if the government alone decides what information its citizens are entitled to have," she writes. "The Constitution's framers well understood the need for an independent press when they enshrined the right to speak and publish freely in the 1st Amendment." Click for Miller's full column. (More Jana Winter stories.)

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