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Report No. 93

III. Some Decided Cases in U.S.A.

6.11. Case law in U.S.A.-

Mention may be usefully made of a few cases decided in the United States on the question of newsmen's privilege. Judge Irving Kufman, writing for a unanimous three-judge panel of the Second Circuit, held in an anti-blockbusting suit that a writer for the Saturday Evening Post did not have to reveal his source, even though that source had direct knowledge of facts central to the issues of the anti-blockbusting suit before the court.1 Neither the writer nor the publication was a party to the litigation.2

The Ninth Circuit has held that two staff members of a Black Panther party newspaper did not have to disclose the identities of persons associated with the publication to a federal grand-jury which was investigating threats of presidential assassination and other possible criminal conduct by members of the Black Panther Party.3

1. Rakor v. F.&F. Investment, 170 F 2d 778 (2d Cir 1972), Cert. denied, (1973) 411 US 996.

2. Howard Simons and Joseph A. Califani Jr. (Ed.), The Media and the Law, (1976), pp. 15-16.

3. Bursay v. U.B., cited by Howard Simons and Joseph A. Califani Jr. (Ed.), The Media and Law, (1976), pp. 15-16.

Disclosure of Sources of Information by Mass Media Back

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