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Report No. 93

VI. Model Contract in U.S.A.

6.20. Model contract in U.S.A.-

It is of interest to note one peculiar feature regarding the United States. It appears that the model contract evolved by the Newspaper Gui1c11 in U.S.A. contains a clause relating to "privilege against disclosure and authentication". This privilege seems to have been introduced in 1970, and represents a definite policy as to the protection by the employer of reporters and their sources from source disclosure. It appears that the primary object of this clause is to give the employee full financial and legal support from the employer. The provisions of the model contract clause have been analysed as comprising the following propositions1:

P-1. An employee may refuse, without penalty or prejudice, to give up custody of or disclose any knowledge, information, notes, records, documents, films, photographs, or tapes or the source thereof, which relates to news commentary, advertising, or the establishment and maintenance of his sources in connection with his employment;

P-2. An employee may also refuse, without penalty or prejudice, to authenticate any material;

P-3. The employer shall not give up custody of or disclose any of the above without consent of the employee;

P-4. The employer shall notify the employee concerned, and the Guild, of any demand on the employer for such surrender or disclosure or authentication;

P-5. If the employee is proceeded against under law on account of his refusal to surrender or disclose or authenticate, the employed shall move to join as a party to such proceedings;

P-6. (the Employer) shall meet all expenses incurred by the employee, including fees and expenses of legal counsel retained by the employee;

P-7. and (the Employer) shall indemnify such employee against any monetary loss, including but not limited to fines, damages or loss of pay;

P-8. In no case shall an employee suffer loss of wages, employee status or benefits under this contract as a result of his refusal to surrender or disclose or authenticate.

1. The Newspaper Guild, U.S. Model Contract, December 1, 1975, quoted in Gail L. Barwis Can Privilege be Bargained?, (Summer 1980), Journalism Quarterly 205 (206, 207).

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