Press freedom groups submit petition backing James Risen
Press freedom organisations have submitted a petition with more than 100,000 signatures to the US justice department supporting the right of New York Times reporter James Risen not to identify an anonymous source.
Risen has defied demands from prosecutors for six years to testify in the case of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA employee charged with leaking classified information.
Sterling is accused of releasing classified information that was used in Risen’s 2006 book State of War. But Risen has steadfastly refused to identify his sources since he was first subpoenaed in 2008.
In June, Risen exhausted his legal appeals when the supreme court refused to hear his case and now faces a prison sentence. But he is not about to change his mind. “The real reason I’m doing this is for the future of journalism,” Risen he said yesterday.
He maintains that investigative reporting depends on a reporters having confidential sources.
Two days’ ago, Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, encouraged all journalists to support Risen’s stand because such cases strike at the heart of their reporters’ rights.
“Tell the justice department to live up to its pledge,” he wrote.
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