Judge: Bloggers Could Claim Same Legal Protections as Journalists

Judges raised concerns about whether bloggers could claim the same legal protection as journalists today while hearing a case about whether two reporters could go to jail for refusing to divulge their sources.

Time magazine's Matthew Cooper and The New York Times's Judith Miller have been subpoenaed in the grand jury investigation into the leak of an undercover CIA officer's name.

Arguing before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, attorney Floyd Abrams said that a First Amendment protection exists for journalists and that there is a federal common law privilege based on the recognition of 49 states of legal protections for journalists.

One of the appeals court judges, David B. Sentelle, appeared skeptical of both arguments. Sentelle said journalists are not licensed and expressed concern that if such a protection was granted, Internet bloggers could claim legal protection, too. He said anyone can set up a Weblog and wondered whether all bloggers are true journalists.

Anyone can, and we aren't. Details here from CyberJournalist.net.