1997-06-13 - Do reporters have special rights the rest of us don’t have?

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From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 2776556cba13a126f4d5a6af53872f93b0a3ea5bdbbf044f31c2ee0dfb7f210d
Message ID: <v03102806afc72cece4f0@[]>
Reply To: <Pine.SUN.3.96.970613110728.23715B-100000@beast.brainlink.com>
UTC Datetime: 1997-06-13 17:27:20 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 14 Jun 1997 01:27:20 +0800

Raw message

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
Date: Sat, 14 Jun 1997 01:27:20 +0800
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Do reporters have special rights the rest of us don't have?
In-Reply-To: <Pine.SUN.3.96.970613110728.23715B-100000@beast.brainlink.com>
Message-ID: <v03102806afc72cece4f0@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 8:55 AM -0700 6/13/97, Declan McCullagh wrote:
>On Fri, 13 Jun 1997, Ray Arachelian wrote:
>> Booooooooo!  Hisssssssssss!  Putting your bread and butter before your
>> morals, eh?
>Far from it. My position is a principled one, not one of convenience.
>As a civil libertarian, for instance, I would not support laws that give
>certain journalists more free speech "rights" than a Net-loon with a web

And I hope Declan does not support so-called "shield laws" which give
reporters protection against having to reveal sources (modulo the
oft-discussed contempt laws).

Declan's "job" is as a reporter. Just a job. Not a special class of rights
as determined by the government. I am as much a "reporter" as Declan is, in
terms of what rights I have. In fact, arguable many of us are reporters, as
we report on what we see and what we think....Brock Meeks started out in a
similar online forum, as did Declan. At what point did they suddenly gain
special protections from interrogations about their sources that the rest
of us don't have?

(I have no problems with private agents, e.g., Microsoft or whatever,
limiting contacts to the "main" reporters. It's their property. If they
grant interviews to Declan, Brock, John, Steve, etc., and not to me, I
cannot claim my "rights" were violated. Government functions are another
matter, and I would generally favor letting anyone claiming to be a
reporter in to government press conferences...to do anything else is to
give licensing and credentials to speech, which the government should have
no right to do. If they need to hold press conferences in RFK Stadium, so
be it.)

The general area of licensing of reporters is fraught with troubles.
(Readers may recall that UNESCO sought to force the United States into
going along with this kind of licensing; the U.S. refused. However, the
"shield laws" are a dangerous step in the direction of such licensing.)

--Tim May

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay@got.net  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."