Media groups form coalition in legal fight for source protection in U.S.

A coalition of 29 news outlets and organizations has filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals asking the court to uphold a lower-court's decision blocking prosecutors from forcing New York Times reporter James Risen to reveal his sources, reported Politico. The amicus brief, filed on behalf of the news groups on Tuesday, Feb. 21, argues that "the confidentiality of journalists’ communications with their sources has been vital to ensuring that the press effectively performs its constitutionally protected role of disseminating information to the public."

Prosecutors want to force Risen to reveal his sources as part of an investigation into a former CIA officer, Jeffrey Sterling, accused of leaking confidential information about Iran's nuclear program, explained The New York Times.

Another Politico article noted that The New York Times never published Risen's article, which eventually became part of a book he published in 2006. Still, the Times was part of the media coalition that filed the brief. Other news organizations that signed the brief include ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, NPR, NBC, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Hearst, McClatchy, Newsweek, The New York Daily News, Reuters, Scripps-Howard, Time, the Tribune Company, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

The press freedom case is likely to end in the Supreme Court, Politico noted.